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The Senate’s main players on immigration legislation

Published on February 13, 2018

By FLONAD News

The Senate’s main players on immigration legislation

BY ALEXANDER BOLTON.

The fate of Senate immigration reform legislation rests in the hands of a few key senators on both sides of the aisle.

The stakes are enormously high, as hundreds of thousands of immigrants who entered the country illegally as children face deportation if Congress fails to act by March 5, a deadline set by President Trump.

Proponents for giving these immigrants legal status or even a path to citizenship hope to pass a bill out of the Senate with enough political momentum to win Trump’s support and then create pressure to schedule a vote on the House floor.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has promised “a level playing field” for the Senate debate and “an amendment process that is fair to all sides,” but the outcome is far from certain.

These lawmakers will decide what legislation — if any — attracts the 60 votes necessary.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas)

Cornyn, the Senate Republican whip, is perhaps the most important player in the debate.

This will be the fourth time he plays a high-profile role in a major Senate immigration debate.

He was at the center of action in 2006 and 2013, when the Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform bills that failed to get anywhere with the House. He was also a pivotal player in 2007 when a broad bipartisan plan collapsed under its own weight in the Senate.

Cornyn is the point person for the GOP leadership and has McConnell’s trust.

He will serve as a “clearing house” for various proposals, screening out ideas that can’t pass muster with Trump or the GOP-controlled House.

He has a solid grasp of policy and its practical implications as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Border Security and Immigration Subcommittee and the senior senator of a border state with a large immigrant population.

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