Feb. 14 (UPI) — President Donald Trump’s administration said Wednesday it opposes proposed bipartisan immigration legislation it says would increase unlawful migration, while not fixing existing problems in the system.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Conn., would grant permanent legal status to those who arrived without immigration status in the United States as children, who have protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. It also calls for a comprehensive study of border security and an immediate improvement in security on the United States’ southern border.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said in a statement Wednesday the proposal would increase chain migration, continue catch and release actions and give a pathway to citizenship for convicted felon immigrants.
“The McCain-Coons proposal does not authorize a single penny for appropriations for border security, ensuring that our Nation’s border is never secured or our national security protected,” the department said. “Rather than securing the border, the McCain-Coons proposal requires the DHS to submit a strategy on border security to Congress — something that DHS has already done.”
The department also said the proposal would grant citizenship to hundreds of thousands of additional undocumented aliens that aren’t DACA recipients, and provides a fast-track path to U.S. citizenship for millions of immigrants with criminal records.
“This includes convicted felons, as well as those who have committed domestic violence offenses, and criminal gang members. Even a deportable alien convicted of a firearms offense would be eligible for citizenship benefits under McCain-Coons,” the DHS statement said.
The Trump administration said the bill also does nothing to “address the outdated and dangerous Visa Lottery program.”
In a separate statement, the department said it does support The Secure and Succeed Act, which was released Wednesday. DHS said that proposal “includes recommendations made by the frontline officers of the Department of Homeland Security” and “is a reasonable compromise that follows the framework laid out” by Trump.
The DHS said it also accomplishes four main pillars — securing the border, ends chain migration, cancels the visa lottery and finds a permanent solution for DACA. It is sponsored by Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, John Cornyn of Texas, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, David Perdue of Georgia, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, James Lankford of Oklahoma and Joni Ernst of Iowa.
Trump gave Congress until March 5 to negotiate a fix for DACA. Tuesday, a federal judge blocked the order.