Trump's Immigration Plan Gathers Steam in Senate

Massive overhaul underway.

President Donald Trump's plan to grant legal status, under certain conditions, for some 1.8 million "dreamers" if he can get funding for a border wall and massive change to legal immigration is starting to pick up momentum on Capitol Hill.

Senators voted 97-1 on Monday to begin debating the plan that has significant Republican support, including the backing of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, reports The Washington Post:

McConnell endorsed a sweeping GOP plan that fulfills Trump’s calls to legalize the status of 1.8 million “dreamers,” spends at least $25 billion to bolster defenses along the U.S.-Mexico border, makes changes to family-based legal migration programs and ends a diversity lottery system used by immigrants from smaller countries.  

The Secure and Succeed Act is “the only piece of legislation that can get through the Senate, through the House of Representatives, most importantly signed by the president,” said its lead sponsor, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa).  

While President Trump has agreed to, and even exceeded, Democrat demands for a path to citizenship for young people brought to the United States illegally by their parents, most Democrats are not backing the plan reports The Post:

Many Democrats do not like how the proposal would chip away at family-based legal migration — what conservatives deride as “chain” migration — and how much money would be spent to build a wall and fencing along the southern border.  

Under current chain migration rules distant relatives can sponsor someone from their home country to become a legal immigrant; once here that person can also sponsor relatives near and close. The Trump administration has looked at changing the legal immigration system to one that more closely resembles countries such as Canada. where immigrants can sponsor only close relatives such as children, parents and, under certain conditions, siblings.

The Trump plan would also do away with the visa lottery system and move towards a merit-based system that would match the skills of would-be immigrants to the needs of the United States.