Tue, Feb 06, 2018 - Page 7 News List

Durbin says ‘Dreamers’ logjam still unresolved

Reuters, WASHINGTON

The No. 2 US Senate Democrat, Dick Durbin, on Sunday said he did not expect to have a deal protecting young immigrants before government funding expires this week but that a shutdown over the issue was unlikely.

The US Congress has made no notable progress toward a deal on the status of the 700,000 “Dreamers,” people who were brought to the US illegally as children.

Durbin said he did not believe a deal could be reached by Thursday, when US government funding expires and lawmakers must pass another spending measure to keep the lights on at federal facilities.

“There is not likely to be a DACA [Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals] deal, though we’re working every single day, on telephone calls and person to person, to try to reach this bipartisan agreement,” Durbin said on CNN’s State of the Union program.

A partisan standoff over the issue caused a partial government shutdown for three days last month after the Congress failed to pass a stopgap spending measure.

Democrats voted to allow the government to reopen with another temporary funding measure after assurances from Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that he would put an immigration bill up for debate.

“I don’t see a government shutdown coming, but I do see a promise by Senator McConnell to finally bring this critical issue that affects the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in America, finally bringing it to a full debate in the Senate,” Durbin said.

Durbin, who has been working with Senate Republicans on a compromise, said members of both parties had been working together to solve the issue, adding: “I think we’re making real progress.”

Democrats have said repeatedly that they want protections written into law for the Dreamers, who were given temporary legal status by former president Barack Obama’s DACA program, which lets them study and work in the US without fear of deportation.

Trump said in September last year that he would end the program by March 5.

Trump and many conservatives lawmakers insist that any bill to help Dreamers contain at least three other elements: beefed-up border security including the construction of a wall on the US-Mexico border, the termination of a visa lottery program and an end to the awarding of visas for immigrants’ parents and siblings.

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