US Senate sinks 4 immigration bills after Trump veto threat; no breakthrough yet for Green Card hopefuls

Trading sharp barbs, a full house of US Senators sank Donald Trump’s four immigration proposals Thursday, intensifying the current deadlock over the uncertain future of 1.8 million young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children who were covered under an Obama era concession called DACA ( Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Caught in the crossfire, beause DACA has become the political hot potato, are nearly the same number of legal Indian H1B workers waiting for an average of 15 years for their Green Cards to be processed.

Nikhila Natarajan February 16, 2018 05:03:33 IST
US Senate sinks 4 immigration bills after Trump veto threat; no breakthrough yet for Green Card hopefuls

No deal yet.

Trading sharp barbs, a full house of US Senators sank four immigration proposals Thursday, including Donald Trump's silver bullet, intensifying the current deadlock over the uncertain future of 1.8 million young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children who were covered under an Obama era concession called DACA ( Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Caught in the crossfire, beause DACA has become the political hot potato, are nearly the same number of legal Indian H1B workers waiting for an average of 15 years for their Green Cards to be processed but without the same headline grabbing recall in the US news cycle.

A bipartisan bill that logged the maximum vote count ended 54-45 in favor, but that was short of the 60 votes needed to make the cut. Eight Republicans bucked their party line while three Democrats went against their colleagues' vote, sinking the bill.

US Senate sinks 4 immigration bills after Trump veto threat no breakthrough yet for Green Card hopefuls

After weeks of haggling, nothing got done on a crucial day at the U.S. Senate in Washington D.C/ REUTERS

Given the scenes that played out today, with none of the proposals getting the needed 60 votes to pass, the India camp certainly has its job cut out.

Trump has repeatedly threatened to veto any proposal other than his. The President’s dog whistling has clearly antagonised a section of his own party’s Senators and the displeasure was all too obvious Thursday.

“If you have extreme guys like Steven Miller writing this stuff, we’re going nowhere, Mr President,” was the final word from the resistance within the Republican party who are deeply cut up about the men who are driving Trump’s poison pills on immigration policy which, if successful, will inflict the deepest cuts to legal immigration since the 1920s.

Incidentally, Trump's pet bill has the broad contours to deliver for those on the Green Card waitlist too but that’s a long shot going by today’s performance.

Of all four proposals, Trump’s proposal got the least votes (39) as Democrats got riled by Trump’s veto threat and then his loyal foot soldiers in the Senate treading a thin line between threats and insults to push the Trumpian agenda as the “only one that will pass.” Clearly, the 39 votes show that Trump’s agenda does not have the backing of all Republican Senators either who number 51 in total.

Trump is pushing for DACA closure to be bundled with three other issues - funding for a border wall on America’s southern edge, ending the visa lottery program and curbs on visas for families of legal immigrants.

Democrats and Republicans against Trump’s plan are saying don’t mix DACA and legal immigration - a tack not new to Trump. He pulled off a similar trick barely a week ago, muscling the federal budget past Congress saying don’t mix DACA with funding for the military. Now, it’s payback time for the Democrats.

Now that the Senate route, where Republicans have a razor thin majority, is closed, the Republican-led House is likely to bring to a vote a hardline immigration bill circulating in the chamber.

Before that, expect a Trump outrage on Twitter.

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