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US Senate rejects Trump immigration plan, leaves 1.8 million 'dreamers' in limbo

The US Senate rejected a series of bills to protect "Dreamer" immigrants on Thursday.

US Senate rejects Trump immigration plan, leaves 1.8 million 'dreamers' in limbo

Washington DC: The United States Senate has decisively rejected a legislation based on President Donald Trump's framework for an immigration deal in a 39-60 vote.

The measure, spearheaded by Senator Chuck Grassley, Republican of Iowa, needed 60 votes to clear a filibuster but failed to meet the mark on Thursday.

The rejection of President Donald Trump's plan was bipartisan.

While the Democrats refused its get-tough approach to legal immigration, many conservative Republicans opposed its pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.

The White House rewrite of the nation's immigration laws would have bolstered border security, placed strict new limits on legal migration and resolved the fate of the so-called 'Dreamers', according to The New York Times.

The measure would have severely limited "chain migration," more commonly known as family-based immigration, and would have ended the diversity visa lottery programme, two priorities of the President that are anathema to Democrats.

It would also have provided USD 25 billion for the border wall, which the President had proposed building at the southern border, and a path to citizenship for 1.8 million young immigrants who were brought to the USA as children.

An estimated 690,000 of these young immigrants, known as 'Dreamers', are protected from deportation by an Obama-era programme, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and about 1.1 million more are eligible.

"While the Republicans and Democrats in Congress are working hard to come up with a solution to DACA, they should be strongly considering a system of Merit-Based Immigration so that we will have the people ready, willing and able to help all of those companies moving into the USA," President Trump had earlier tweeted.

However, President Trump has rescinded the initiative, which is set to expire March 5.

It was the fourth proposal in a row rejected by the US Senate, and it received the fewest votes of support. 

All three other measures had won more than 50 votes.

After the vote, Trump had slammed the bipartisan measure as "a total catastrophe" and backed a Republican plan that could garner only 39 votes, the fewest of all four plans. 

That led Democrats to complain the President`s uncompromising approach was sinking bipartisan efforts in Congress.

"This vote is proof that President Trump’s plan will never become law. If he would stop torpedoing bipartisan efforts, a good bill would pass,” Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said.

The Senate votes were the latest in a series of failures in Congress in recent years to pass a comprehensive immigration plan, and they left lawmakers and immigration advocates searching for a way forward for the young Dreamer immigrants.

Although the protections under the DACA program are due to start expiring on March 5, federal judges have blocked that from taking effect amid ongoing litigation.

Republican Senator Bob Corker told reporters there could now be a debate on attaching a short-term extension of protections for Dreamers on a government funding bill that Congress must pass by March 23 to avoid a shutdown.