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WASHINGTON, D.C. Feb. 5, 2018 – U.S. Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) will introduce legislation today to address two pressing issues (DACA and border security), providing a path to resolve these important immigration issues and allowing Congress to devote full attention to finalizing a budget deal that fully funds the military and domestic programs.
The McCain-Coons legislation is a Senate companion bill to the Uniting and Securing America (USA) Act, bipartisan legislation introduced by Representatives Will Hurd (R-TX-23) and Pete Aguilar (D-CA-31) to protect Dreamers from deportation and provide a pathway to citizenship while implementing new border security measures. The USA Act already has 54 co-sponsors in the House — an even split of 27 Republicans and 27 Democrats.
“For months, I have been calling on my colleagues to complete a bipartisan budget agreement to lift the caps on defense spending and fully fund the military. While reaching a deal cannot come soon enough for America’s service members, the current political reality demands bipartisan cooperation to address the impending expiration of the DACA program and secure the southern border,” said Senator McCain. “Our legislation, which already has broad support in the House of Representatives, would address the most urgent priorities of protecting Dreamers, strengthening border security, alleviating the backlog in immigration courts, and addressing the root causes of illegal immigration. I’m grateful to Senator Coons for his leadership and hope our colleagues will support this effort to resolve the immediate challenges before us. It’s time we end the gridlock so we can quickly move on to completing a long-term budget agreement that provides our men and women in uniform the support they deserve.”
“It’s no secret that Congress is gridlocked, and there is a growing list of unaddressed issues we simply have to fix, but I still believe that we agree on more than we disagree on,” said Senator Coons. “The bill I’m introducing with Senator McCain today doesn’t solve every immigration issue, but it does address the two most pressing problems we face: protecting DACA recipients and securing the border. I believe there is bipartisan support for both of those things and I believe that we can reach a budget deal that increases funding for our military and important domestic programs. We need to find a way through this gridlock to get Congress working again, and this is a viable path forward.”
Senator Coons added: “I have been and remain very encouraged by the bipartisan negotiations toward an immigration compromise that Senators Collins and Manchin have hosted through the Common Sense Coalition, and I plan to continue working with that group to try and find a way forward. The purpose of the legislation I’m introducing today with Senator McCain is to highlight this existing, bipartisan House bill and to add another viable, bipartisan option to the table.”
A one-pager on the bill is available here.