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On Thursday, February 16, the Senate took a series of votes on immigration - all of which failed to meet the 60-vote threshold to pass. Read below for FCNL’s response and vote recommendations.

Responding to the Senate’s failed votes on immigration, Diane Randall, Executive Secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation, remarked,

“The Senate’s inaction this week is untenable. It has been five months since President Trump decided to unnecessarily end protecting immigrant youth from deportation. At the time, he called on Congress to act, yet it is clear that President Trump has not acted in good faith to find a solution to the problem that he created. The president has refused every bipartisan Dreamer protection proposal, including those that entertained his extreme requests to fundamentally change to who our country welcomes. We call on members of Congress to reject the White House framework that stands in stark contrast to the immigration policies we seek for our nation. Especially after these failed votes, Congress must re-center their efforts on a solution that offers a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, while protecting families and border communities.”

Hard Votes on Immigration

The series of votes that the Senate took were difficult since none fully aligned with FCNL’s vision for just immigration laws. We believe that Congress should enact citizenship for immigrant youth, but also hold concern for other communities that may be undermined in this process.

Throughout the debate, we reiterated our strong support for family-based immigration, the diversity visa, and strengthening access to asylum, along with our opposition to expanding harmful or unchecked border enforcement and cutting off avenues of legal immigration.

How did your Senators vote?

FCNL recommended Senators vote YES on Coons-McCain S. Amdt. 1955

FCNL supports this bipartisan, narrowly-tailored legislative solution that would permanently and responsibly protect immigrant youth, while also addressing data-driven, accountable border enforcement that upholds the rule of law and recognizes the importance of consultation with border communities. This amendment offers a minimum 5 year, maximum 12 year pathway to citizenship for Dreamers. It also includes provisions that would aim to address root causes that drive migration of unaccompanied children from Central America, and add immigration judges to address the immigration court backlog.

FAILED 52-47

  • Four Republicans voted FOR the bill: Sen. Gardner (R-CO), Sen. Graham (R-SC), Sen. Flake (R-AZ) and Sen. Murkowski (R-AK)

  • One Democrat voted AGAINST the bill: Sen. Manchin (D-WV)

The rest of the votes were along party lines with Republicans voting against and Democrats voting in favor.

FCNL strongly recommended Senators vote NO on Toomey S. Amdt. 1948.

FCNL opposes the Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act that this amendment is mirrored after. The legislation would punitively withhold community development funding for “sanctuary” localities. The definition is overly broad and could include localities that have ceased utilizing detainers because of court rulings. FCNL believes that when all individuals can report dangerous situations without the fear of being deported and separated from their families, safety is increased for all community members.

FAILED 54-45

  • Four Democrats voted FOR the bill: Sen. Donnelly (D-IN), Sen. Manchin (D-WV), Sen. McCaskill (D-MO) and Sen. Stabenow (D-MI).

The rest of the votes were along party lines with Republicans voting in favor and Democrats voting against.

FCNL neither supported, nor opposed the Rounds-King (Schumer) S. Amdt. 1958.

We support that this bipartisan agreement offers a 10-12 year pathway to citizenship for Dreamers. However, the measure goes far beyond the narrow congressional solution that FCNL would like to see in the absence of wider, compassionate immigration reforms. It adds $25 billion to border enforcement with limited accountability mechanisms for communities living in the border region. The amendment also cuts off the ability for Legal Permanent Residents to sponsor their adult children, and limits Dreamers from sponsoring their parents once they become U.S. citizens. We also have concerns that it limits responsible prosecutorial discretion by codifying enforcement priorities into law.

FAILED 54-45

  • Eight Republicans voted FOR the bill: Sen. Alexander (R-TN), Sen. Collins (R-ME), Sen. Flake (R-AZ), Sen. Gardner (R-CO), Sen. Graham (R-SC), Sen. Isakson (R-GA), Sen. Murkowski (R-AK), Sen. Rounds (R-SD)

  • Three Democrats voted AGAINST the bill: Sen. Harris (D-CA), Sen. Udall (D-NM) and Sen. Heinrich (D-NM)

The rest of the votes were along party lines with Republicans voting against and Democrats voting in favor.

FCNL strongly recommended Senators vote NO on Grassley S. Amdt. 1959.

FCNL strongly opposes this amendment which would drastically dismantle avenues for family reunification, add $25 billion to deportation and border enforcement mechanisms, eliminate the diversity visa lottery system, increases cooperation with Mexican security forces known for human rights violations, and jeopardize access to asylum for children. While the bill offers a 12-year pathway to citizenship, it mandates gravely disproportional consequences that would result in immediate deportation for Dreamers seeking citizenship.

FAILED 39-60

  • Three Democrats voted FOR the bill: Sen. Donnelly (D-IN), Sen. Heitkamp (D-ND) and Sen. Manchin (D-WV)

  • 14 Republicans voted AGAINST the WH proposal: Sen. Barrasso (R-WY), Collins (R-ME), Cruz (R-TX), Daines (R-MT), Enzi (R-WY), Inhofe (R-OK), Kennedy (R-LA), Lee (R-UT), Moran (R-KS), Sasse (R-NE), Flake (R-AZ), Murkowski (R-AK), Thune (R-SD), Paul (R-KY)

The rest of the votes were along party lines with Republicans voting in favor and Democrats voting against.

Next Steps

Congress still has yet to act to protect Dreamers. They are in recess this coming week for President’s Day. Please keep up the urgency to pass protections into law immediately - there is only one legislative week left before the official cancellation of the DACA program on March 5.

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