The Senate is reportedly weighing a new bipartisan immigration reform framework that involves concessions from both Democrats and Republicans, but also has a number of provisions that could ultimately doom it. The deal trades increased border security for relief for immigrants who are already in the US, but lawmakers are running out of time to pass it before the end of the year.
The framework for a potential bill is the product of negotiations between Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ.) and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC). According to a summary in the Washington Post, it would give Democrats a long-sought path to citizenship for more than 2 million “Dreamers” who immigrated to the US as children without authorization. That would add $1.2 trillion to GDP over a decade and $235 billion in net fiscal contributions, as estimated by the Niskanen Center, a libertarian think tank.
Republicans would get additional border security resources and at least a one-year extension of the Title 42 policy, which has allowed the US to use pandemic-era health rules to quickly expel nearly 2.5 million migrants who have arrived on the southern border since 2020. The Government Accountability Office would have the authority to end the policy, ostensibly after the government can establish new migrant processing centers on the border.
The framework would also provide funding to accelerate the processing of asylum seekers, including for those processing centers, and to hire additional asylum officers and immigration judges. And it has provisions that would allow migrants who aren’t eligible for asylum to be quickly removed. Currently, the process of adjudicating an asylum claim typically spans months or even years: Existing asylum cases have been pending for an average of 785 days as of October, according to data from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.