Immigration Bills Fail in Senate, Including DACA; House Bill's Prospects Appear Dim; Second Court Enjoins DACA Rescission

February 22, 2018

By Immigration Group

This article was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Laura Danielson is an active member.

Crossword_DACA_immigrationA bipartisan deal on immigration, the "Common Sense Plan," failed on February 15, 2018, in the U.S. Senate, 54-45. The legislation would have provided a pathway to legalization for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Dreamers and provided $25 billion for border security measures, among other things. Reportedly, the Trump administration opposed the deal and had threatened to veto it despite substantial bipartisan support. A White House-supported bill also failed in the Senate, 39-60. The latter bill would have cut family immigration, ended the diversity visa (DV) program and increased federal removal powers. Two other immigration proposals also failed on February 15.

Sen. John Thune was quoted as saying, "Well, we'll go back to the drawing board." Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she was "very disappointed" and added that "we've got real problems that we need to solve."

Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives is hard at work on a tough bill—the "Securing America's Future Act," also dubbed the "Goodlatte bill" after its main author, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee—that appears not to have sufficient support in either the House or the Senate. Among other things, the bill would provide temporary, renewable legal status to DACA recipients rather than citizenship. It would authorize border wall funding, end family-based immigration, end the DV program and require employers to use the E-Verify program, among other measures.

Also, on February 13, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York became the second court to enjoin DACA rescission, with a nationwide preliminary injunction while lawsuits proceed. The court ordered the Trump administration to maintain the DACA program on the same terms and conditions that existed before promulgation of the DACA Rescission Memo, subject to several limitations:

  • The administration need not consider new applications by individuals who have never before obtained DACA benefits;
  • Need not continue granting advance parole to DACA beneficiaries; and
  • May adjudicate DACA renewal requests on a case-by-case basis.

View the court decision.
View the Department of Homeland Security press release issued before the Senate voted on the "Common Sense Plan."