WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., filed cloture Wednesday on four immigration amendments, including a bipartisan proposal supported by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.
Manchin is a co-sponsor of an amendment that would protect the 1.8 million young immigrants registered in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, as well as set aside $25 billion for border security. This funding could be used for building barriers on the country’s borders, as well as needed technology and personnel.
Sixteen senators support the proposal, and all lawmakers are part of the Common Sense Coalition. Manchin and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, used the coalition to push for an end to the government shutdown in January.
“This compromise shows the American people what Congress can get done when we work in a bipartisan way and put politics aside,” Manchin said in a press release. “I’m glad we could work through these complicated issues in a constructive way in order to secure our border and solve some difficult immigration issues that I think both sides can support.”
The amendment would provide a path to citizenship and legal status for certain individuals brought illegally to the United States as children. Those people would have to be enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
The amendment would additionally open an opportunity for people who have been living in the country since June 15, 2012 — when then-President Barack Obama ordered the program’s establishment — as well as those who were younger than 18 years old when they entered the country or 38 years old before June 15, 2012. These individuals would have to pass a background check and medical exams, in addition to meeting educational requirements or serving or being honorably discharged from the military.
The amendment would also provide $25 billion for border security over the next decade. The Department of Homeland Security would be required to provide a security plan to lawmakers on how to use this funding, which could include infrastructure, technology and agents.
The department would be directed to use resources to remove convicted individuals from entering the country, as well as those who are deemed a threat to public safety or are in the country illegally after June 30, 2018.
“Our legislation underscores the broad, bipartisan commitment to creating a path to citizenship for Dreamers, who were brought to this country illegally through no decision of their own, while strengthening border security to help stop the flow of illegal immigrants as well as drugs like heroin that are ruining lives,” Collins said through her press office.
In total, eight Republicans, seven Democrats and one independent are in support of the proposal. Republican Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota and independent Sen. Angus King of Maine are the amendment’s lead sponsors.