January 11, 2018
With a successful tax reform bill behind them, Congress has switched gears and is refocusing on immigration.
In an announcement Wednesday, lawmakers said they’ve created a bill to tackle four areas of immigration, including the visa lottery program, chain migration, DACA recipients, and finally President Trump’s highly sought-after border wall.
“It’s got to include a wall,” said President Trump. “We need the wall for security…we need the wall for safety…we need the wall for stopping drugs from pouring in.”
According to reports, the bill will allocate $30 billion to build the southern border wall, and will give dreamers a three-year legal status so they can pursue a path to citizenship.
However, the person spearheading the legislation, Virginia Congressman Bob Goodlatte, says DACA recipients will not be prioritized when it comes to citizenship.
“Well I would not be willing to give people who entered the country illegally a special pathway to citizenship that would have put them ahead of people who have gone through the long, legal process to enter this country legally,” stated Goodlatte. “It’s simply not a fair thing to do. ”
The new legislation will also reportedly end chain migration as well as the visa lottery program.
However, Goodlatte says there may be alternatives so immigrants aren’t left empty handed.
“I would like to see us move to a merit-based system,” he explained. “We are by far the most generous nation in the world for legal immigration….we give roughly 1.1 million green cards out each year so I think that can be reduced a little, but I also think that a lot of those numbers that are reduced by ending chain migration could be available for a merit-based immigration system.”
With many issues to tackle, Goodlatte says the legislation may be just one-step toward a major immigration overhaul with supplemental measures to follow.
As lawmakers work to finalize the bill’s details, GOP congressional leaders will be challenged to sway their Democrat colleagues.
If successful, a final version of the bill could be sent for a Senate floor vote by next week.