This week, the topic of immigration, which Congress has ignored for decades, will finally be tackled by the US Senate. In a recent speech on the floor, Illinois Democrat Senator, Dick Durbin, said that the week is likely to an historic one.
Immigration reform has consistently been framed as first and foremost a matter of security by President Donald Trump, with his weekly address on Sunday continuing the theme. Trump said that legal loopholes have enabled immigrant gang members and other criminals to gain access to the US, and reiterated his State of the Union call for Congress to close such loopholes immediately as they impose massive burdens on American taxpayers and endanger communities.
Lawmakers on both sides of the political divide share concerns on the issue of ‘Dreamers’ – the thousands of young undocumented immigrants brought to the US as minors, who face possible deportation from the country. Many Republicans also want to see changes and restrictions to legal immigration, with the stage for the debate being set last year by the President’s ending of the deferred action program and a deadline of 5 March for their plight to be addressed by Congress.
Trump has made it clear that a fix for the Dreamers is not the only thing he wants to see from Congress on the immigration issue, and wants to change the US immigration system to make immigrants with advanced skills a priority and receive funding for a wall on the border between the US and Mexico.