STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Graham, Durbin introduce bipartisan immigration bill despite setbacks

A bipartisan group of senators on Wednesday formally unveiled their immigration proposal with new supporters -- even ...

Posted: Jan 18, 2018 10:22 AM
Updated: Jan 18, 2018 10:22 AM

A bipartisan group of senators on Wednesday formally unveiled their immigration proposal with new supporters -- even as the White House continued to call the deal dead on arrival.

Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, and Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, introduced their bill Wednesday afternoon with Sens. Bob Menendez, D-New Jersey, Michael Bennet, D-Colorado, Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Mike Rounds, R-South Dakota, putting the bill close to having enough votes to pass the Senate, assuming unanimous Democratic support, but not quite to the 60-vote threshold needed to advance legislation.

The bill appeared to be the same that was presented to President Donald Trump last week, when the President, using vulgar terms, rejected the pitch, according to sources familiar with that meeting.

If passed, the bill would appropriate $2.705 billion in border security improvements, eliminate the visa lottery, make permanent the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program -- offering a pathway to citizenship to those who qualify -- and limit "chain migration," or family-based migration, of the individuals eligible for the program.

"We'd be crazy to want them to leave. If you met any of these Dream Act kids, the last thing you'd want is for them to leave," Graham said on the Senate floor Wednesday evening. "At the end of the day there's a deal to be had; it just needs to be done. The reason this bipartisan group that I'm part of came about is because no one was doing much of anything."

But the President himself and his top advisers continued to tell reporters on Wednesday that the bill was not what the White House was looking for, virtually assuring the measure had no chance of moving forward as it is.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday reiterated that without an affirmative endorsement from Trump, a bill would not move for a vote.

"Well, at the risk of being repetitious, I'm looking for something that President Trump supports," McConnell told reporters. "And he's not yet indicated what measure he's willing to sign. As soon as we figure out what he is for, then I would be convinced that we were not just spinning our wheels going to this issue on the floor, but actually dealing with a bill that has a chance to become law and therefore solve the problem."

White House chief of staff John Kelly said Wednesday that the bill didn't meet the bipartisan and bicameral standard set by the President.

"His sense was, two things. It fell short of certainly what he was looking for based on the Thursday conversation and other conversations," Kelly said. "But more to the point, it did not include all of the senators that have been involved in all of the discussions about DACA and certainly did not involve the House."

Sens. Thom Tillis, R-North Carolina, and James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, said in a joint statement Wednesday evening they would oppose the bill because it "falls short" on border security reforms.

"Unfortunately, the 'Gang of Six' proposal falls short since it fails to include even basic border security reforms," they said in a joint statement. "Threatening a government shutdown or demanding a vote on a bill that is doomed to fail is counterproductive. It is also unfair to give false hope to the many DACA recipients waiting on Congress to finally enact legislation."

Conservative hard-liners Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley and Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, and David Perdue, R-Georgia, also slammed the bill in a joint statement. They were previously negotiating with the group, but were left out of meetings over disagreements.

"The Durbin-Graham-Flake proposal would do nothing to solve the underlying problem in our current immigration system," they said in a statement. "It does not take the needed steps to fix our porous border and it fails to empower law enforcement to apprehend and remove dangerous criminals who are here illegally."

The President said in an interview with Reuters on Wednesday that the bill fell short.

"It's the opposite of what I campaigned for," Trump said.

And White House legislative director Marc Short, coming out of lengthy meetings with lawmakers on different sides of the issue, said the President was still looking for a deal that covered only existing DACA recipients, not a broader population, and a curtailing of family-based migration that goes beyond only those affected by a DACA measure -- two elements inconsistent with the Durbin bill.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 500709

Reported Deaths: 9977
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34312538
DeSoto32080403
Hinds31924627
Jackson24482379
Rankin21983390
Lee15530235
Madison14574280
Jones13838242
Forrest13447251
Lauderdale11985316
Lowndes11030188
Lamar10508135
Pearl River9503237
Lafayette8547139
Hancock7728126
Washington7422157
Oktibbeha7142131
Monroe6769176
Warren6682176
Pontotoc6659102
Neshoba6635206
Panola6520131
Marshall6462134
Bolivar6313148
Union602494
Pike5817152
Alcorn5667101
Lincoln5433135
George496779
Scott472698
Tippah469081
Prentiss466881
Leflore4657144
Itawamba4633105
Adams4586119
Tate4584110
Copiah448592
Simpson4445116
Yazoo443987
Wayne439772
Covington428794
Sunflower4237105
Marion4225108
Coahoma4159104
Leake408288
Newton381679
Grenada3706108
Stone359764
Tishomingo359692
Attala331489
Jasper329965
Winston314291
Clay307976
Chickasaw299667
Clarke292494
Calhoun279346
Holmes267887
Smith263850
Yalobusha233747
Tallahatchie227151
Greene219048
Walthall218763
Lawrence212440
Perry205356
Amite205155
Webster202746
Noxubee186640
Montgomery179656
Jefferson Davis171542
Carroll168838
Tunica159439
Benton148738
Kemper141941
Choctaw133426
Claiborne132437
Humphreys129238
Franklin120028
Quitman106428
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson94534
Sharkey64020
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 817054

Reported Deaths: 15320
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1145501922
Mobile724601333
Madison52172694
Shelby37533348
Baldwin37192547
Tuscaloosa35044606
Montgomery34067734
Lee23195245
Calhoun22205476
Morgan20754376
Etowah19811497
Marshall18317302
Houston17345411
St. Clair15983339
Cullman15383292
Limestone15298198
Elmore15161284
Lauderdale14225294
Talladega13802276
DeKalb12622260
Walker11162369
Blount10162175
Autauga9954146
Jackson9844182
Coffee9195191
Dale8880185
Colbert8826201
Tallapoosa7071198
Escambia6764130
Covington6699183
Chilton6627161
Russell627959
Franklin5955105
Chambers5567142
Marion4982126
Dallas4936200
Clarke474583
Pike4722105
Geneva4566126
Winston4502103
Lawrence4296117
Bibb424086
Barbour356676
Marengo337789
Monroe331463
Randolph328763
Butler325696
Pickens315682
Henry311965
Hale311088
Cherokee301760
Fayette291879
Washington251351
Cleburne247360
Crenshaw244375
Clay241768
Macon232363
Lamar222047
Conecuh185853
Coosa179739
Lowndes174564
Wilcox167939
Bullock151644
Perry138340
Sumter132738
Greene126644
Choctaw88127
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 63°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
67° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 67°
Oxford
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 63°
Starkville
Partly Cloudy
67° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 67°
More high pressure will move back into our area overnight and into our Friday. This high pressure will bring back into our area some more dry and seasonable weather for a few days.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather