Delaware Public Media

Sen. Chris Coons cosponsors bipartisan effort on immigration reform

Feb 5, 2018

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) is cosponsoring a bipartisan immigration bill with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)

The bill is almost identical to the measure proposed by House Representatives Will Hurd (TX-23), Pete Aguilar (CA-31) a few weeks ago.

It includes a pathway to citizenship for more than 1.8 million undocumented residents brought to the country as children — exceeding the amount proposed by President Trump, who suggested raising the number of recipients from 700,000 to 1.8 million. 

But Trump’s proposal  also includes amendments to address what he calls chain migration and is also known as family migration, visa lotteries and birthright citizenship. Coons says he, and most Democrats, will not support a bill with those changes.

“Those three in combination, speaking for myself, I can not embrace, and I think if you poll the Democratic Caucus I’d be surprised if more than a very few Democratic Senators are willing to embrace those,” said Coons.

Trump has already tweeted out against the Coons-McCain bill, calling it a ‘total waste of time.’

Coons says the bill is only a starting point to further negotiations, and says he is open to including additional investments in border security.

“How do you strike the right balance between the Republicans and the administration wanting certainty that the funding will be there over the long haul, versus the appropriate oversight role that appropriators should play? That’s one question,” said Coons.

As it stands the bill would beef up immigration courts and lend additional support to the Department of Homeland Security, but it leaves out funding for a border wall.

There is a February 8th deadline to fund the government before it shuts down again.