The White House has floated a new proposal ahead of a critical immigration debate that is set to dominate Capitol Hill next week. Under the proposal, immigration would stay at current levels – about 1.1. million people a year – for the next ten years.
President Trump has said repeatedly that he wants to see an immigration bill accomplish four main goals: find a solution to the DACA program, fund a border wall and end both chain migration and visa lottery programs. The President said that he is willing to provide a pathway to citizenship for an estimated 1.8 million undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children as a solution on DACA.
In addition, the White House is now considering the possibility of clearing the backlog of nearly 4 million sponsored relatives who are currently waiting for green cards. That, combined with the DACA approvals would make up for the cuts in other immigration programs for about thirteen years. If Congress were to take no action beyond that time, immigration levels would likely decline by a significantly.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has moved to begin debate on an immigration bill this week, albeit in an unorthodox way. McConnell said he will not use any bill as a starting point for negotiation. Instead, he will let senators propose amendments straightaway, allowing, essentially, an immigration bill to be built from scratch.
“Whoever gets to sixty wins,” McConnell said, alluding to number of votes necessary to break a filibuster. The open-debate format will be an “opportunity for a thousand flowers to bloom,” he said.