Following news on Wednesday that a bipartisan group of senators known as the "Common Sense Caucus" reached a deal on an immigration measure that would grant President Donald Trump's demands for border wall funding and cuts to family reunification programs, immigrant rights groups denounced the proposed plan as a "mass deportation bill" and implored Democrats to vote against it.
"Let's be clear: this is a declaration of war on immigrant families and our communities."
—Kica Matos, Fair Immigration Reform Movement
"Has Congress gone mad?" Kica Matos, spokesperson for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), said in a statement on Wednesday. "Senators are considering dangerous immigration provisions that would create a pathway to citizenship for some undocumented immigrant youth, while severely restricting family reunification, ramping up immigration enforcement and funding a ridiculous wall that will further harm border communities."
"This is yet another attempt to hold immigrant youth hostage in exchange for a brutal, racist agenda," Matos added. "Let's be clear: this is a declaration of war on immigrant families and our communities."
Donald Trump created this crisis by ending DACA. Now he & racist Stephen Miller are trying to create a white nation.
This atrocious "Common Sense Caucus" proposal promotes their vision by making everyone a deportation priority.
— Ady Barkan (@AdyBarkan) February 15, 2018
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The proposed legislation—crafted by a group of senators including Susan Collins (R-Maine), Angus King (I-Maine), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), and Tim Kaine (D-Va.)—emerged in the midst of an unwieldy immigration debate that kicked off at the beginning of this week but has yet to make any progress toward providing a solution for young immigrants vulnerable to deporation.
Adding to the dysfunction on Wednesday was Trump's threat to veto any bill that doesn't precisely align with his xenophobic wish list, which would impose massive long-term cuts to legal immigration and punish sanctuary cities.
"Democrats, keep your eye on the ball: it is your responsibility to prevent Trump from using the crisis he manufactured to win nativist policies."
—Javier Valdes, Make the Road New York
Without clear direction, the Senate's immigration debate is expected to continue on Thursday, with several bills set to come to a vote—including the Trump-backed measure crafted by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and the Common Sense Caucus legislation.
In a statement on Wednesday, Make the Road New York said the "immigrant community categorically rejects" the Common Sense Caucus bill and urged Democrats to push for the "clear" and broadly popular solution: "it's called the DREAM Act."
"Donald Trump created a national crisis by listening to white supremacists and ending DACA. The onus is on him and his fellow Republicans to address that crisis by creating a permanent solution for Dreamers," said Make the Road New York co-executive director Javier Valdes. "Democrats, keep your eye on the ball: it is your responsibility to prevent Trump from using the crisis he manufactured to win nativist policies that will further devastate immigrant communities and transform our legal immigration system to make America whiter."