WASHINGTON — The two Republicans who represent Iowa in the United States Senate are co-sponsoring a bill that mirrors President Trump’s immigration plan. It includes $25 billion for border security as well as a path to U.S. citizenship for the 1.8 million people who applied for or were qualified for President Obama’s DACA program.
Senator Chuck Grassley describes it as the only plan out there that can pass the House and that Trump will sign into law.
“It provides a compassionate solution to those who were illegally brought here as children through no fault of their own and it includes a very generous opportunity for citizenship,” Grassley said Monday night during a news conference in Washington, D.C.
Senator Joni Ernst said the legislation addresses the “unique challenges” of DACA recipients.
“In Iowa and across the nation, DACA recipients are a very, very special part of our community,” Ernst said. “They are our neighbors. I’ve heard from many young individuals who say: ‘They are our classmates,’ and, of course, there are those that go to church with us.”
Five other Republican senators are co-sponsoring the bill. Grassley, who is the plan’s lead sponsor, called it a “reasonable” approach to an issue that has divided Democrats and Republicans for years.
“If our colleagues are serious about actually finding a real and permanent solution to the DACA crisis, they should be ready and willing to support this compromise,” Grassley said.
Ernst recounted a conversation she had at the Clay County Fair with a DACA recipient who wants to join the Iowa National Guard.
“And she said: “I met with a recruiter months ago and they told me I could not serve…This is the only country that I have known and I love this country,’” Ernst said. “And it’s for folks like her that I’m working hard to make sure that we find a pathway forward.”
The legislation would put new limits on family-based immigration and it would boost the penalty for illegally re-entering the country after being deported. It also calls for a mandatory “E-verify” system businesses would have to check to confirm employees are citizens or legal residents.