Republicans have begun to circulate a draft immigration bill that would completely overhaul the country’s legal immigration system. As expected the bill focuses on boosting border security, overturning rules that govern family separation, and providing a path to citizenship for individuals who qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
The bill was formed with help from moderates, conservatives, and House leadership. Lacking from much of the conversation were Democrats.
The Republican-created and led bill focuses on what Donald Trump calls his “four pillars” of immigration. The bill includes $25 billion to be spent on the President’s wall, completely removes the diversity visa lottery, and issues deep cuts to family-based visas.
The bill does provide a path to citizenships for DACA recipients by offering a merit-based point system. The bill would also allow other immigrants to earn permanent status as well. To make way for those citizenship requests, Republicans want deep cuts to the current visa program.
Like many of the bills put forth by a fractured Republican-led Congress, it’s still unclear if moderate Republicans can come together with members of the House Freedom Caucus and the Republican Study Committee.
Freedom Caucus member Rep. Scott Perry tells CNN he might not be able to support the measure because former DACA recipients could skirt the system by sponsoring their parents for legal status.
“I’m going to have concerns, I’m going to tell you right now,” the Pennsylvania Republican tells CNN.
Other Trump Priorities In The Bill
Trump has also ensured that other priorities are included in the bill, including a focus on longer detention for undocumented immigrants who are awaiting deportation. The goal of the Trump administration is to make it harder to seek asylum in the U.S. while awaiting deportation.
The bill also calls for several provisions that would require cities to comply with federal immigration enforcement requests. In a direct attack against sanctuary cities, the bill would allow victims of violent crimes to sue cities when undocumented immigrants commit those crimes.
Detaining Entire Families Indefinitely
The bill draws attention to the growing issue in which children are being ripped away from their parents but not necessarily in a positive way.
Republicans want to overturn a settlement agreement in which children cannot be detained more than three weeks. However, the new bill would allow entire families to be detained indefinitely.
Sources close to the bill say it may be voted on next week, likely after receiving more revisions.
Regardless of the outcome, polling still shows that a large majority of Americans are opposed to the border wall. A Quinnipiac poll reveals that only 37% of voters support the measure.