US Congress to take up fate of 1.8 million young illegal immigrants

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Aside from building a wall along the U.S. -Mexico border, Trump has proposed lower the number of immigrants America accepts from around the world and prioritizing newcomers with advanced work skills. Tom Cotton and Iowa Sen.

Colorado's USA senators say they are focused on protecting Dreamers as the Senate begins debate on an immigration measure, though lofty asks from the White House and a host of competing bills from various factions of the Senate could make getting to 60 votes hard.

"I'm very optimistic", said Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat of Florida and a member of the bipartisan group, called the Common Sense Coalition, that has been negotiating behind the scenes.

The goal is for the Senate to vote on immigration proposals and amendments from every corner of the political spectrum. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of SC are keen on securing protection - though not necessarily immediate citizenship - for Dreamers, along with funding for a border wall and an end to the diversity visa lottery, which aims to bring immigrants to the US from underrepresented countries and is a particular bête noire of conservatives.

With Daca (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), which was introduced by president Barack Obama to protect Dreamers, due to expire on March 5th, Congress must settle on a replacement programme in the coming weeks.

The legislative rush comes after months of congressional inaction following Trump's announcement in September that the administration would stop renewing DACA applications in March.

But Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said bipartisan talks are ongoing and lawmakers are working to find a solution. I think you made it clear that you're going to be fair on the floor.

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The Secure and Succeed Act also includes limiting family-based legal migration to just the nuclear family - that is, only spouses and children under the age of 18 - and reallocating visas from the diversity lottery program to other visa programs.

"Whoever gets to 60 wins", McConnell told reporters at a news conference on February 6.

Trump's immigration rhetoric, a focus of his campaign and his presidency, includes the desire for a wall, curbs to legal immigration and an end to the visa lottery system, aimed at allowing immigration from a diverse set of countries.

If the bipartisan immigration plan passes the Senate, it faces an uncertain fate in the House of Representatives, where Republicans hold a larger majority. The legislation tracks with an immigration proposal the White House unveiled in January and while it has support from Republican leadership, its prospects with Democrats appear slim. Republicans control the Senate 51-49 but immigration legislation would need 60 votes to pass, meaning some Democratic support is required.

The White House, on the other hand, opposed the McCain-Coons immigration proposal, which it said would increase illegal immigration, surge chain migration, continue catch and release, and give a pathway to citizenship to convicted alien felons.

Still, the president has sent mixed messages on his commitment to the proposal, telling state and local officials at a White House meeting Monday that "if you don't want it, that's OK with me too".

In the House, Speaker Paul Ryan is taking fire from some in his rank-and-file who want a broader bill that can better enable a crackdown on border crossings and employers who hire undocumented immigrants. "I hope that we can continue along those lines", he said.

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