Senator Roberts Says Chance For Immigration Reform Dimming In 2018

Feb 21, 2018

Lawmakers in Congress are running out of time to pass immigration reform legislation before the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program expires next month.

Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts says partisan politics derailed last week’s attempts in the Senate to pass an immigration bill. He says this year’s midterm elections could make it difficult to pass any legislation.

"As each month goes along, it’s going to become even more and more partisan," he said. "Unless something happens that’s quite unusual, that both sides could agree on, I don’t think it’s a very good opportunity in [2018]. One day we will have to do this."

Senators voted down four bills last week, including one that covered the “four pillars” President Trump is demanding of immigration reform: a path to citizenship for Dreamers, enhanced border security, limits to some legal immigration, and an end to the visa lottery.

Roberts voted in favor of the bill, which failed 39-60.

"That’s the whole package," he says. "You could have wrapped up this immigration debate with the whole thing."

Roberts' fellow Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran voted against the bill, but put forth his own amendment offering legal status -- but not citizenship -- for immigrants covered by DACA, as well as $25 billion trust fund for border security.

Roberts says the best option now might be to tackle immigration reform in increments.

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