Senators have agreed on a bipartisan immigration deal. Here’s what’s in it, and why the White House rejects it


PBS News Hour

Jan 11, 2018


A bipartisan group of senators announced on Thursday they have agreed on an immigration deal that would protect so-called “dreamers” and beef up border security. But President Trump is not yet on board, according to spokesmen who say the proposal needs work. Meanwhile, the president reportedly used vulgar language in describing immigrants from some countries. Lisa Desjardins joins Judy Woodruff.


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    Judy Woodruff:


    The future of undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children remains uncertain tonight.


    A bipartisan group of six U.S. senators announced they have agreed on an immigration deal that would protect these so-called dreamers and beef up border security.


    But, as of now, the White House is not on board. Two of the senators leading the effort presented the plan to President Trump this afternoon. So far, his spokesmen say the proposal needs more work.


    The NewsHour confirms with a Democratic aide that, at that meeting, the president used vulgar language in describing immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and some African countries.


    Mr. Trump asked — quote — “Why are we having all these people from ‘S-blank-hole’ countries come here?” and suggested instead more immigrants from Norway should be welcomed.


    Our own Lisa Desjardins joins me now to explain the state of play.


    Lisa, so we’re following this all day long. Let’s get to the context of what was going on. Three Democratic senators, three Republicans, what were they proposing?


    Lisa Desjardins:




    This is group is led by Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Democrat, and Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. They were the two at that White House meeting. Let’s look at the agreement they came to as a bipartisan group.


    First, that DACA recipients would have a permanent legal status and that after 10 years they could apply for citizenship. But their parents would only have a temporary status. That is about that chain migration or family migration. They could not apply automatically for citizenship.


    Also for the border, this deal would have given $2.7 billion for some kind of barrier, you could call it a wall or a fence, whatever, and also additional security.


    Also, Judy, interesting that in this deal the visa lottery as we know it would essentially end. That’s 50,000 visas right now. Those visas would be split — 25,000 of those visas would go to help those who have temporary protected status, whose status is set to end in the next year-and-a-half, and 25,000 visas more would be merit-based.


    And that is that temporary protective status and that visa lottery, that is what the president was talking about when he talked about those groups of people.


    Judy Woodruff:


    All right, well, and there is a lot to follow here.


    Lisa Desjardins:




    Judy Woodruff:


    So, we’re going to try to keep it as simple as possible.


    But let’s start with those temporary protected status recipients. Let’s talk a little bit more about what that means and also about what you learned about this controversial comment by the president.


    Lisa Desjardins:


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