Dreamers' Future Uncertain as DACA Deliberations Stumble in Senate

February 16, 2018

Each of the four immigration proposals that were offered on the Senate floor this week failed to earn the required 60 votes to invoke cloture, leaving congressional efforts to authorize DACA in jeopardy.  Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) told reporters, "I don't see dedicated floor time (again).  What we'll have to do is keep talking and see if there's something other than what was rejected on the floor that people can agree to... I don't think it's going to be a path to citizenship, but we'll see."  In lieu of a permanent solution, various members have offered stopgap measures.  Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), proposed an amendment providing a three-year extension of the DACA program paired with border security funding.  Sens. John Thune (R-SD), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Jerry Moran (R-KS) offered a measure containing funding for border security and renewable two-year work permits for DACA recipients.  As of now, however, passing DACA-related legislation before the March 5 deadline seems unlikely.  Some members are looking to the March 23 spending deadline, when Congress hopes to pass an omnibus spending bill that will last through fiscal 2018, as a likely point for the negotiations to revive.  Judicial stays on the President's termination of the DACA program may bridge the time between the 5th and the 23rd, but if the stays are overturned—or if Congress fails again to find a solution—DACA recipients could be placed in limbo.