Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) will introduce legislation on Monday to address undocumented immigrants brought into the country as minors after the Trump administration announced they would end an Obama-era immigration program.
Lankford told an Oklahoma TV station that his forthcoming bill would offer undocumented immigrants currently covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program a path to getting a green card.
“President Trump believes that there should be a permanent solution, that’s a legislative solution, that provides some semblance of certainty and he’s willing to be able to engage,” Lankford said.
— Sen. James Lankford (@SenatorLankford) September 22, 2017
Current DACA recipients are temporarily protected from deportation and allowed to live and work in the United States legally, but the program does not grant them a green card — which gives permanent legal residence.
Lankford and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) said earlier this month that they were working on a replacement for DACA that would be an alternative to the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act, which grants eventual citizenship.
“DACA, in its name, was deferred action. It was temporary solution,” Lankford told the Oklahoma TV station. “What this offers is a permanent solution for these people so they don’t continue to live their life in fear of inconsistent policies.”
Lankford’s push comes after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced they had reached an agreement with Trump to work out a deal that would pair a DACA fix to tighter border security measures.
Schumer told reporters earlier this week that he is “very optimistic” Democrats will still be able to get a “good deal” on a DACA fix paired with border security.
And some Democrats, as well as outside groups, are pushing Democrats to demand that the DREAM Act either get a stand-alone vote or be included in any deal.
Pelosi separately said that “our insistence in every conversation — with the Speaker, with the president or with the Dreamers — [has been] that it will be the DREAM Act.”