The immigration framework proposed by two bipartisan lawmakers that would have passed permanent relief for young undocumented immigrants in exchange for harsh border measures has reportedly failed.
Thom Tillis and Kyrsten Sinema “did not strike a deal that would have been able to secure the necessary 60 votes in the evenly divided Senate during the lame-duck session,” congressional officials told CBS News. John Cornyn “and other members of GOP leadership said there was scant Republican support for the plan,” CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez tweeted Wednesday.
The termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program through right-wing courts is not a matter of if, its a matter of when, and passage of a deal during the lame duck represented the last chance to pass some sort of relief before an anti-immigrant Texas judge issues his decision. Kevin McCarthy has already promised he’ll pass no humane relief, as part of his campaigning to become speaker. That includes a corrupt bargain targeting Department of Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas for impeachment.
The immigration proposal came as young immigrants (as well as the farmworkers who feed America) rallied for legislative action before the current congressional term ends in January, and was a sweet-and-sour deal attempting to garner the 10 Republicans needed to overcome the Jim Crow filibuster.
The sweet: Relief for DACA recipients, who for five years have been watching the program be attacked by Republicans, both at the federal government level and in the courts. The sour: Harsh border enforcement measures, including an extension of Stephen Miller’s anti-asylum Title 42 policy for at least another year. CNN had also reported increased border security funding, anywhere from $25 billion to $40 billion, on top of the billions that border agencies already get. But apparently, none of that was enough to convince 10 members of the GOP caucus, according to Cornyn.
Cornyn, since we’re already discussing him, once made a laughable claim in a campaign ad that he’s supported legalization for undocumented immigrant youth, and that he’s actually been fighting for them behind the scenes. But given a real, high-stakes chance to do something about, like right now during the lame duck session and as an end to the DACA program is inevitable, he's done nothing but throw cold water on the proposal.
It’s not hard to boil all this down to Republicans just not wanting to do anything about DACA recipients—even when presented with the kind of border measures they love—because they want to keep using immigrants as a political tool.
”The bill was far from ideal, but probably the best shot at heading off the crisis coming when the Supreme Court pulls the plug on DACA next June,” tweeted immigration attorney Greg Siskind. Tyler Moran, a former official with both the Obama and Biden administrations, wrote in a tweet that all Republicans “do is complain about the border—but when presented with an opportunity to provide a ton of resources for asylum, fentanyl detection & Border Patrol in exchange for DREAM, they balk. They want to perpetuate chaos, yet they are never held accountable.”
So is it over for this lame-duck session when it comes to immigration policy? There’s been a push to aid our Afghan allies evacuated to the U.S. by passing the Afghan Adjustment Act through the omnibus package. That’s something that needs to happen, because it’s owed to them. Some advocates are pushing for immigration relief via a registry update, and also through the omnibus. The hopeful part of me says it’s not over until it’s over. But the remaining options, and time, are dwindling.
“What else do we need to do,” tweeted DACA recipient Erika Andiola, a constituent of Sinema’s and a proponent of the passage of permanent relief during the lame-duck session. “How else can we get this country to accept us. To give us a chance to fully belong. Almost 15 years sacrificing so much. Fighting so hard. I’m tired. So tired.”