Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina believes there is a deal to be had with Democrats that involves funding a border wall (or fence) while extending legal status to Deferred Action on Childhood Arrival recipients and others in the country under temporary protected status.
After a meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House on Sunday, Graham said, “The president is firm in his commitment to make sure we get money for border security, and they’ll never be a 60 vote deal in the Senate that doesn’t include money for border security/wall.”
“And, I don’t see Democrats giving us more money unless they get something,” the senator added.
Graham expressed optimism that if both sides can talk, a deal can be struck.
“(It) would include around $5 billion for border security/wall/fencing, whatever you want to call it in areas that make sense,” he said.
Graham also predicted that the Trump administration will prevail at the Supreme Court regarding its decision to wind down the DACA program, meaning Democrats may now be open to a legislative fix.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in November that Trump could not end DACA, though former President Barack Obama unilaterally initiated it by executive order.
Justice Department attorneys had filed a petition at the Supreme Court days before the ruling when no decision from the 9th Circuit had been forthcoming after hearing oral arguments in the case in May, CNN reported.
Graham said the deal he is suggesting would not be a path to citizenship for DACA recipients as was discussed in February when Trump was seeking $25 billion.
Rather, the senator pointed to the Bridge Act, which he introduced with Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois in 2016.
The legislation would provide provisional protected status and the employment authorization for three years after the date the bill becomes law, which would be renewable one time by the approximately 750,000 DACA recipients.
Graham said the deal would likely also include residency for those in the country under Temporary Protected Status provision.
According to the Center for Migration Studies, as of January 2017, an estimated 350,000 migrants from 13-TPS designated counties resided in the U.S.
These non-citizens came to the U.S. to escape armed conflict, natural disasters or other temporary conditions, such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
Many of these people have now lived in the country for more than 20 years.
“Their legal status is about to run out,” Graham said. “There is a lot of sympathy for this population in the Congress, and I think the president is very open-minded about this dilemma.”
The senator said Trump did not commit to such a deal, but the president appeared open to it.
“I know there are some Democrats out there who would be willing to provide money for border security if we could deal with the DACA population and TPS people,” Graham said.
After the new Senate convenes on Thursday, Republicans will hold a 53 to 47 majority, meaning if all GOP senators support the deal, seven Democrats would be needed for it to overcome a likely filibuster.
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