Senate Fails to Act on Immigration

Feb. 15, 2018 - The Senate's open floor debate on immigration failed to produce a bill as four separate proposals fell short.

see: Congressional Record through page S.1149
The vehicile for the debate was H.R. 2579, an act to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow the premium tax credit with respect to un- subsidized COBRA continuation coverage.

McCain-Coons (Amendment 1955)  Y 52, N 47, Not Voting 1
(Amendment 1948) 
Y 54, N 45, Not Voting 1
Schumer-Rounds-Collins (Amendment 1958)
  Y 54, N 45, Not Voting 1
Grassley et al. (Amendment 1959)  Y 39, N 60, Not Voting 1


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

McConnell: I Remain Eager To Improve Our Immigration, Security Policy

‘If a solution is developed in the future that can pass both the House and the Senate and be signed into law by the president, it should be considered. But for that to happen, Democrats will need to take a second look at these core elements of necessary reform.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor following today’s votes on immigration and border security:

“I think it’s safe to say this has been a disappointing week. I kept my commitment and set aside the entire week for a broad, productive debate over DACA, border security, and other important immigration issues. Everyone -- my friend the Democratic Leader, the Assistant Democratic Leader, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus -- everyone agrees that I have held up my end of the bargain.

“Back in December, I stated that if a bill that stood a chance of becoming law were ready in January, I would bring it to the floor. But no such proposal was produced. Then, in January, when Democrats shut down the government over this issue, I offered to dedicate this week to an immigration debate and a fair amendment process. And I did just that.

“But these same Democrats failed to produce a solution, and instead spent the better part of the week objecting to any votes in the Senate. I thought we might be able to resolve this. I was hoping we could reach a bipartisan solution that could pass the Senate, pass the House, and earn President Trump’s signature. But once again, when the hour came to actually make law instead of just making political points, my friends across the aisle were either unable or unwilling to get something done. After all that talk, they hardly came to the table at all.

“I supported the plan introduced by Chairman Grassley and several other co-sponsors. It fleshed out the president’s framework, pairing a more than generous solution for 1.8 million illegal immigrants with commonsense steps to reform legal immigration, secure the border, and help law enforcement keep Americans safe.

“The president came, in my view, more than halfway to meet Democrats on this issue. In exchange for a pathway to citizenship -- not just legal status -- for nearly 2 million individuals, he sensibly wanted to reform pieces of our broken immigration system, secure our border, and make it harder for violent criminals and repeat offenders to prey on American citizens.

“This is more than a fair bargain. I thought my friends across the aisle would jump at this opportunity to fulfill what they say is their top priority. But they just could not take ‘yes’ for an answer. They turned away from a golden opportunity to solve this issue. They decided they’d rather come away empty handed, with no resolution whatsoever for the 1.8 million individuals they say they are championing, than accept a reasonable compromise with the president.

“Now, even though this week has been squandered, this does not have to be the end of our efforts to resolve these matters. I encourage members to put away the talking points and get serious about finding a solution that can actually become law. I remain eager to improve our immigration policy.

“If a solution is developed in the future that can pass both the House and the Senate and be signed into law by the president, it should be considered. But for that to happen, Democrats will need to take a second look at these core elements of necessary reform.”

Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)

Senate Fails in its Attempt to Fail the American People on Immigration

(February 15, 2018, Washington, D.C.) — The following statement was issued by Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) regarding today’s votes on immigration in the United States Senate:
“The Senate began the week with a mandate from the American people to fix our broken legal immigration system, take decisive action to end mass illegal immigration, and to address the status of about 690,000 DACA recipients.
“Instead, the Senate brought to the floor two amendments that would have granted amnesty to between 1.8 and 3.2 million illegal aliens and another that extended protections for 10-12 million.  In return, those amendments would have done little or nothing to end illegal immigration or end our failed system of family chain migration.  Ultimately, they all failed because they deserved to fail.
“The American people were watching this debacle unfold and so, too, should have the House. Fixing our failed immigration system – and fixing it in a way that serves and protects the interests of the American people – is now the responsibility of the House.
“We urge the House of Representatives to act swiftly to bring the Securing America’s Future Act, H.R. 4760, to the floor for a vote. Unlike the failed efforts in the Senate, H.R. 4760 prioritizes the agenda of the American people on immigration policy, while extending temporary protections to the 690,000 illegal aliens currently protected by DACA.
“Polls indicate broad public support for the provisions and the sequencing of H.R. 4760. After the Senate’s bungled attempt to sell mass amnesty as ‘immigration reform,’ it is time for the ‘people’s house’ to finally serve the people’s interests on immigration.”
Contact:  Joe Gomez
The White House

Statement from the Press Secretary regarding the Schumer-Rounds-Collins Amendment

The Administration strongly opposes passage of the Schumer-Rounds-Collins Amendment.  This Amendment would drastically change our national immigration policy for the worse by weakening border security and undercutting existing immigration law.  Specifically, preventing enforcement with respect to people who entered our country illegally before a date that is in the future would produce a flood of new illegal immigration in the coming months.  The Amendment would undermine the safety and security of American families and impede economic growth for American workers.

The Administration continues to insist on a safe, modern, and legal immigration system for the benefit of the American people.  The essential pillars of such a system are securing the border through building the physical border wall and closing legal loopholes, protecting the nuclear family by limiting sponsorships to spouses and children, cancelling the visa lottery, and implementing a lasting solution on DACA.

The Administration is committed to finding a permanent, fair, and legal solution for DACA.  But this Amendment would only compound the problem by encouraging millions of additional minors to be smuggled into the United States.  We need to solve the problem, not perpetuate it indefinitely.

The vitality of the American economy and the safety and security of the American people depend upon these reforms.  The Administration cannot support the Schumer-Rounds-Collins Amendment because it is not only dangerous policy that will harm the Nation, but it also fails to deliver on the clear promise the Administration has made to the American people.

If the President were presented with an enrolled bill that includes the Amendment, his advisors would recommend that he veto it.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Schumer-Rounds-Collins Destroys Ability of DHS to Enforce Immigration Laws, Creating a Mass Amnesty For Over 10 Million Illegal Aliens, Including Criminals

The Schumer-Rounds-Collins proposal destroys the ability of the men and women from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to remove millions of illegal aliens. It would be the end of immigration enforcement in America and only serve to draw millions more illegal aliens with no way to remove them.  By halting immigration enforcement for all aliens who will arrive before June 2018, it ignores the lessons of 9/11 and significantly increases the risk of crime and terrorism.

It is an egregious violation of the four compromise pillars laid out by the President’s immigration reform framework. Instead of helping to secure the border as the President has repeatedly asked Congress to do, it would do the exact opposite and make our border far more open and porous. It would ensure a massive wave of new illegal immigration by exacerbating the pull factors caused by legal loopholes.  By keeping chain migration intact, the amendment would expand the total legalized population to potentially ten million new legal aliens – simultaneously leading to undercutting the wages of American workers, threatening public safety and undermining national security.

The changes proposed by Senators Schumer-Rounds-Collins would effectively make the United States a Sanctuary Nation where ignoring the rule of law is encouraged.

#1—Provides a Safe Enforcement-Free Haven for Over 10 Million Illegal Aliens

  • It eviscerates the authority of DHS to arrest, detain, and remove the vast majority of aliens illegally in the country by attempting to limit DHS enforcement by codifying a “priorities” scheme that ensures that DHS can only remove criminal aliens, national security threats and those who arrive AFTER June 30, 2018 creating a massive surge at the border for the next four months.
  • This immigration enforcement “holiday” until June 30, 2018 will show to the world we are not serious about enforcing our immigration laws as those who arrive here can just stay here consequence free, at a minimum until the next amnesty.
  • The amendment fails to address serious loopholes in immigration law on detention and removal authorities, including Zadvydas v. Davis.  The most egregious loopholes have required DHS to release aliens with final orders of removal - including dangerous convicted criminal aliens - into American communities if, because their country of origin refuses to accept them, we are unable to remove them in 180 days.
  • In Fiscal Year 2017, more than 2,300 aliens were released because of that court decision, and more than 1,700 of those were criminal aliens.
  • It does nothing to combat sanctuary jurisdictions, and does not enhance ICE’s detainer authority—the tool it uses to pick up and process aliens from the secure and controlled environments of jails and prisons - or indemnify local jurisdictions that seek to comply with detainers.  This forces ensures that local jurisdictions release criminals back into communities to re-offend.
  • According to a recent Harvard-Harris poll,[1] 80 percent of American voters share the common-sense view that cities that arrest illegal aliens for crimes should be required to turn them over to immigration authorities.
  • While noncitizens made up approximately 7.2 percent of the U.S. population in 2016,[2] they accounted for 41.7 percent of all federal offenders sentenced for felonies or Class A misdemeanors in that fiscal year. Even excluding all types of immigration offenses, noncitizens accounted for more than 20 percent of all federal offenders sentenced for felonies or Class A misdemeanors—nearly three times their share of the general population.
  • It does not fix any current removal loopholes that it make it difficult for DHS to remove criminal aliens and does not subject gang members to removability – a serious concern where many gang members enter the country as Unaccompanied Alien Children (UACs) and are unable to be removed.
  • Last year, “Operation Raging Bull”, a law enforcement operation targeting MS-13 gang members, resulted in the arrest of 214 individuals in the United States—nearly one third of whom (64 individuals) had entered the country as UACs.
#2—Fails to Secure the Border

  • The amendment ties the hands of all the men and women of DHS who stand at the border attempting to make our nation more secure.
  • Leaves longstanding loopholes wide open, undermining DHS’s ability to remove aliens and perpetuating the catastrophic “catch and release” policy.  These loopholes create a dramatic pull factor for illegal immigration.
  • Fails to terminate the Flores Settlement Agreement, effectively ensuring continued surges in unaccompanied alien minors and family units.
  • Only 3.5 percent of unaccompanied minors apprehended are eventually removed from the United States.
  • Fails to address The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, which limits the DHS ability to promptly return UACs who have been apprehended at the border and creates additional loopholes.           
  • Failing to close these loopholes creates untold risks for children who are routinely smuggled and trafficked as they seek to arrive in the United States.
  • Fails to ensure that drugs like fentanyl do not enter the U.S.
  • Fails to address much needed hiring and pay reforms that allow DHS to support the men and women on the frontlines.
  • Prevents DHS from building a Border Wall where it is needed through the imposition of unnecessarily onerous environmental and reporting burdens.
  • It does not provide any provisions to deter visa overstays (criminal designation, prompt removal, or bars to immigration benefits), enabling mass illegal immigration through temporary visa programs.
  • Visa overstays account for roughly 40 percent of all illegal immigration in the United States.
#3—Not a DREAMer Bill, But a Mass Amnesty Bill for Illegal Aliens of All Ages

  • Gives initial citizenship to a massive population of three million illegal aliens – and potentially many more as extended-family chain migrants.
  • In addition to the 3 million DACAs, it ensures a path to citizenship for their 6 million parents through the use of a faux-prohibition provision that is likely unconstitutional as well as administratively and judicially impossible to administer.
  • There are no real eligibility requirements. Much of the eligibility criteria can be waived.
  • Gives citizenship to criminal aliens: Many criminals can benefit from the DACA provision as the bars for criminals are overly narrow and the eligibility to waive criminal conduct for applicants is overbroad.
  • Expands maximum age of entry into the United States for DACAs to age 18— ensuring it applies to illegal aliens who have spent most of their lives in their home countries and who came to the United States recently and who are decidedly not children.
  • Grants immigration benefits to individuals who are not “DREAMers”: expands conditional permanent resident status to certain aliens in Temporary Protected Status who otherwise meet the eligibility requirements designed to address the DACA population.
  • Persons who are under the age of 43 years old TODAY are eligible to apply for DACA now – these are not children, and haven’t been for some time.
  • Additionally there is no maximum age limit: meaning that, a “DREAMer” who is eligible today could wait years before applying, thus we could have DACA “children” benefiting receiving citizenship when they are in their 60s and 70s.
  • Contains unworkable and dangerous confidentiality provisions, which hamstrings DHS’s ability to remove illegal aliens who do not meet eligibility requirements or commit fraud.
  • The bill creates a new definition of expunged records that contradicts current law and ensures that criminal aliens with expunged convictions can benefit from legalization.
  • Allows illegal aliens’ own statements – not verifiable documentation – to satisfy the DACA eligibility requirements creating an obvious enforcement loophole. This is the exact type of non-auditable visa program that the GAO continues to cite as irredeemable on its face.
  • Prevents the Secretary from denying applications for DACA applicants who appear to be a threat to public safety or national security concerns.
  • Anyone who claims to be eligible for relief is barred from removal, essentially a get out of jail free card.
  • The Schumer-Rounds-Collins proposal explicitly prevents DHS from removing anyone who is “enrolled in” school over the age of five. This would include teenage human smugglers, gang members, or criminal aliens.
#4—Expands Chain Migration

  • Fails to protect the economic security of millions of American workers and taxpayers by doing nothing to address unchecked extended family chain migration.
  • Under current law, illegal aliens are unable to legally bring over their foreign relatives through chain migration. By providing a pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal aliens while leaving chain migration intact across the entire U.S. immigration system, these individuals would then be able to bring over all of extended families through chain migration, who in turn could bring in their foreign relatives, potentially increasing the legalized population of aliens to 10 million.
  • A Princeton study found that every two new migrants sponsor, on average, seven additional relatives to come to the United States.
#5 Keeps the Visa Lottery

  • The bill does nothing to address the outdated and dangerous Visa Lottery program, let alone fulfill the Administration’s goal of ending it.
  • A report published by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2007 found that the visa lottery system was vulnerable to fraud committed by and against lottery applicants.
  • The GAO report found difficulties in verifying applicant identities, which raised serious security concerns.
  • At some of the consular posts they reviewed the majority of visa lottery applicants had hired “visa agents” to enter the lottery.
  • In 2003, the State Department Office of Inspector General (OIG) authored a report that found the program was subject to widespread abuse.
  • The OIG found that despite restrictions against duplicate visa lottery submissions, thousands of duplicate submissions were detected each year.
The report asserted that identity fraud was endemic in the system and that it was commonplace for applicants to use fraudulent documents.


[2] See U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2016,

Americans for Limited Government

Schumer-Rounds-Collins opens door for massive amnesty for millions

Feb. 15, 2018, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement in opposition to the Schumer-Rounds-Collins amendment:

“Everyone can remember the videos of train loads of illegal immigrants, as children, coming across the border when former President Barack Obama decided to crash our nation’s immigration system with DACA. The Schumer-Rounds-Collins amendment would create the greatest border rush in American history, with amnesty being offered to millions, and then tens of millions of individuals once chain migration is taken into consideration. On this point alone, this amendment should be defeated. This is not what the American people voted for in 2016.

“The only immigration proposal that would offer legal status to DACA recipients, while reforming the immigration system to prevent another rush, which means ending chain migration, the visa lottery and securing the southern border with the President’s wall is the House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s legislation. The Schumer-Rounds-Collins amnesty amendment has earned opposition from the White House and a vote for it is a vote against any immigration bill as it would surely be vetoed, ending the debate for 2018 and ending DACA.”

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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

Schumer Statement on Failure of President Trump’s Immigration Plan

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today released the following statement regarding the failure of President Trump’s immigration plan.

“This vote is proof that President Trump’s plan will never become law. If he would stop torpedoing bipartisan efforts, a good bill would pass.”
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin

Durbin Statement On Senate's Failure To Pass Bipartisan Protection For Dreamers

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement after the Senate failed to advance bipartisan legislation to protect young immigrants known as Dreamers:

When the President ended DACA five months ago, he set in motion a crisis jeopardizing the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people and their families. He then demanded his entire anti-immigrant wish-list as ransom to restore these young people’s protections. Democrats made enormous concessions in order to reach not one but six separate, bipartisan agreements to pass the overwhelmingly popular Dream Act in exchange for a dismally unpopular border wall. The President and his enablers in Congress rejected them all, never once budging from their own partisan plan.

This crisis isn’t going away, and I will not rest until these young people and their families have the future in America that they deserve.

United We Dream

Trump’s Mass Deportation Plan Fails As He Kills Bipartisan Progress on Immigration. Again.

Congress Must Work Past Trump’s Games and We Will Not Stop Fighting Until Immigrant Youth and Families Are Safe
Washington, DC - Today, by a margin of 39/60, the Trump immigration plan failed in the U.S. Senate while bipartisan measures to protect immigrant youth were rejected by most Republicans after Trump worked to kill them.
Cristina Jimenez, Executive Director and co-founder of United We Dream said:
“Today’s Senate vote makes clear that Trump’s racist mass deportation plan has zero mandate for becoming law. The only thing Trump succeeded in doing today was killing bipartisan work.
“Congress clearly must ignore Trump’s games because he’s played them over and over again to the same result. Immigrant youth remain in grave danger because Trump killed DACA.
“Millions of us have no protection at all today and Trump has decreed that on March 5th, the rest of us will become vulnerable.
“This is why every person of conscience must rise up to demand a change in the law to stop him from deporting us. It is time for leaders in Washington to fix the crisis created by Trump and protect immigrant youth without persecuting our families.
“A breakthrough is possible and we will not stop fighting until immigrant youth and families are safe.”

Fair Immigration Reform Movement (a project of the Center for Community Change)
Posted by Jasmine Nazarett on February 15, 2018
For Immediate Release: February 15, 2018

Trump’s Games Are Destroying Immigrants’ Lives

(WASHINGTON)—Kica Matos, spokesperson for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, FIRM, issued the statement below after the Senate failed to pass the bipartisan DREAM Act:

“Millions of young immigrants’ lives have been turned upside down since Trump heartlessly ended DACA without a permanent legislative solution in place. And, instead of allowing a bipartisan group of Senators pass the most popular solution—the DREAM Act—he has acted like a wrecking ball, meddling in the negotiation process and destroying the delicate conversations that have focused on protecting the future of millions of lives at stake.

Sadly, too many Senators sided with Trump’s racist agenda and turned their backs on immigrant youth. They failed to stand up to Trump’s tactics and bring the bipartisan DREAM Act up for a vote. But, it is evident that his extremist agenda doesn’t pass muster—his plan was strongly rejected in the Senate today.

The fight for justice continues at the local, state and federal level. There is a solution to the chaos Trump created and it’s called the DREAM Act. Now America must stand up for what’s right and demand that Congress pass it.”


Association of American Medical Colleges

AAMC Statement on Senate Rejection of DACA Proposals

AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD, issued the following statement regarding the Senate’s inability to pass any of the legislative proposals that included a permanent legislative solution for individuals with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status:

“It is incredibly disheartening that the Senate failed this week to come to an agreement that would provide a permanent legislative remedy for individuals with DACA status.

As college students look toward medical school, and medical students prepare for their residency training, unless Congress acts, those with DACA status could be prevented from completing the necessary requirements to fulfill their lifelong goal of pursuing medicine or science. At the same time, patients in underserved communities could be denied the care they deserve since Dreamers are more likely to practice in those areas.

Not only does this uncertainty for Dreamers have an impact on the health professions and biomedical research workforces, and the patients they serve, it continues to have a negative impact on our students and trainees. In addition to the pressures of medical school and residency training, these individuals must face the added stress of not knowing what their status will be in the next year, or even the next month.

We strongly encourage Congress and the administration to come together in a bipartisan manner to provide long-term stability to individuals with DACA status.”


The Association of American Medical Colleges is a not-for-profit association dedicated to transforming health care through innovative medical education, cutting-edge patient care, and groundbreaking medical research. Its members comprise all 149 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 51 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and more than 80 academic societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC serves the leaders of America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals and their nearly 167,000 full-time faculty members, 88,000 medical students, and 124,000 resident physicians. Additional information about the AAMC and its member medical schools and teaching hospitals is available at

United We Dream

Trump Once Again Shows That His Goal is Mass Deportation, Not Compromise

“Trump, the cruel hostage taker, is now demanding even more tears, more deportations, more broken families and more cash before he will free immigrant youth from his agents.”

Washington, DC  - Today or tomorrow, the U.S. Senate is expected to vote on four immigration proposals. The votes come after months of intense negotiations and activism sparked by Trump’s killing of the DACA and TPS programs which have put millions of immigrants in danger. But late last night and today, the White House effectively killed a bipartisan bill because it wasn’t cruel enough. This is the second time that Trump has killed the bipartisan work he himself called for to solve a crisis that he himself created.
Cristina Jimenez, Executive Director and Co-Founder of United We Dream, said the following:
“Last night, a bipartisan group of Senators, led by Senators Rounds & King, agreed on a proposal to provide citizenship to millions immigrant youth but which would have also led to mass deportation and attacks on our parents that Trump called for.
“While immigrant youth leaders have fought tirelessly to ensure that broad protections for immigrant youth like this are passed into law, as an organization of young people in families and communities we love, we obviously cannot support it.
“Neither can we support the flagrantly anti-immigrant plans expected today from Senators Grassley and Toomey. The only amendment being voted on today which we could consider supporting is the bipartisan McCain/Coons amendment.
“Last night and today, Trump once again showed the world that his goal is mass deportation, not compromise.
“Even though the Rounds/King amendment included increases in deportations, attacks on our parents and $25 billion in funding for his beloved Border Patrol, it wasn’t enough for the global leader in white supremacy.
“Trump is the man who put immigrant youth in danger in the first place and now the cruel hostage taker, is demanding even more tears, more deportations, more broken families and more money before he will free immigrant youth from his agents.
“United We Dream calls on all people with institutional power at the federal, state and local levels to stop playing by Trump’s rules and take principled action now to protect immigrants and people of color from the Trump government.
“Immigrant youth are putting our bodies on the line day after day to defend our families and our democracy and we will not stop fighting until both are safe.
“This nation is at a crossroads and no number of speeches, tweets or symbolic votes will protect us. At the federal level, we have been calling for the Dream Act because it would protect immigrant youth without hurting our parents. Of the proposals being voted on today, the McCain/Coons amendment gets us closest to that standard but we understand that the fight is far from over.
“We call on all Members of Congress and all people of conscience to work through Trump’s stubbornness to deliver a breakthrough.”