Senators introduce Republican answer to DACA

GOP senators introduce DREAM Act alternative

Lankford bill offers long path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants

Republican senators rolled out a new proposal Monday that would would give illegal immigrants who arrived in the U.S.as children a path to citizenship, while curtailing their ability to sponsor family members for immigration.

Under the Succeed Act, an applicant must have arrived in the US before the age of 16 and lived here since June 15, 2012, the date that the Obama administration initiated the DACA program. The first check would happen when the immigrant enters the program, followed by a second check after five years. Advocates recommend DREAMers mail their applications no later than October 3, 2017 to make sure they are received by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services by the October 5 deadline.

The spokesman said that individuals under the SUCCEED Act would - after 15 years of legal status, including at least five years as a green card holder - qualify for naturalization and could apply for citizenship. According to those close to the process, they have been working on the proposal for months, soliciting buy-in from stakeholders on both sides of the aisle, immigration experts and DACA opponents and supporters.

The bill's authors are expected to pitch the bill as a compromise between "amnesty" and "mass deportation", arguing that a "merit-based" system would allow certain young undocumented immigrants to stay in the country while still keeping out anyone with a criminal history. "It is about identifying for those kids... how do we provide some sort of long-term legal stability for them so they can have real stability and not have to live in fear all the time that they're going to be deported two years from now and be able to put them in an environment where they finally have a home and they're not having to worry about where is their home", the senator added.

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The bill differs from previous iterations of the Dream Act, which failed to pass a Democratic-controlled Senate in 2010. It was not clear whether those principles would be influenced by the Republicans' bill. There's so many issues with immigration and it's been so many decades since those issues have been addressed. Thom Tillis, of North Carolina, and James Lankford, of Oklahoma, mimics legislation from Florida Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo sponsored by 31 Republicans in the House, but includes efforts to appease conservatives and limit concerns they may have about eventually allowing the hundreds of thousands of eligible undocumented immigrants to become citizens. "Once we deal with one of them, we need to deal with many of them". "So why are people drawing hard lines around something that doesn't look like it has the votes to get out of the Senate and if it did, probably not out of the House?" Tillis and Lankford demurred on questions about how their conversations with leadership about the bill have gone.

"President Trump called me late at night", he said.

"The President was fully engaged with that and was very supportive of the concept saying that's the way to go", Lankford said.

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