The whole point of the latest government shutdown is conspicuously absent from a new bill to avert another one

Getty Images/PoolPresident Donald Trump.
  • President Donald Trump has rejected the latest bipartisan proposal to codify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program into law.
  • The bill from Sens. John McCain and Chris Coons – introduced separately from the latest short-term funding legislation, which does not address immigration or DACA – would provide a pathway to citizenship for the program’s recipients and authorise a review of border security.
  • Sen. Dick Durbin, the second-highest-ranking Senate Democrat, said a DACA deal was unlikely before Thursday’s deadline to pass a funding bill and avoid a government shutdown.

Talks about the codification of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program have become disjointed, as President Donald Trump and House Republicans continue to push for hardline changes to legal immigration programs as part of the package while the Senate attempts to craft a skinnier deal.

The federal government shutdown last month led to promises to find a permanent solution for the program, which is set to end on March 5.

But as Congress seeks to avoid another shutdown on Thursday, lawmakers have crafted short-term funding legislation that addresses military funding, Medicare, and a few other smaller government programs, but not immigration or DACA.

Separately, the latest bipartisan attempt at a DACA agreement, unveiled Monday from Sens. John McCain and Chris Coons, was quickly rejected by the White House, which cited its lack of funding specifically for a wall along the US-Mexico border and its narrower scope.

The bill would give DACA recipients a pathway to citizenship and authorise a review of border-security needs, with no commitment to future funding.

Trump seemed to take a swipe at the deal in a tweet on Monday.

“Any deal on DACA that does not include STRONG border security and the desperately needed WALL is a total waste of time,”Trump said. “March 5th is rapidly approaching and the Dems seem not to care about DACA. Make a deal!”

Trump’s attacks on the McCain-Coons bill echo his rejection of a previous bipartisan deal from Sens. Lindsey Graham and Dick Durbin that included funding for increased border security.

Lawmakers from both parties are attempting to preserve DACA, the Obama-era program that protects from deportation about 700,000 unauthorised immigrants who came to the US as children. Trump said in September that he would end the program, giving Congress six months to codify it into law.

Both Trump and House Republicans are pushing for a bill that not only codifies DACA and funds the wall but tightens the family-reunification rules for immigrants and ends the Diversity Immigrant Visa lottery.

Last month, Senate Democrats, led by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, agreed to end the three-day government shutdown after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell committed to addressing DACA by the next deadline to pass a funding bill.

But Durbin, the Senate minority whip, has acknowledged that a deal is unlikely before Thursday.

“There is not likely to be a DACA deal, though we’re working every single day, on telephone calls and person to person, to try to reach this bipartisan agreement,” Durbin said Sunday on CNN.

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