Senators drafting bill to limit Trump-era deportations

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill on Nov. 15. (Photo: Cliff Owen/AP)
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill on Nov. 15. (Photo: Cliff Owen/AP)

Democratic and Republican senators are reportedly crafting legislation that would put a limit on how many people President-elect Donald Trump would be allowed to deport if he reverses President Obama’s executive orders concerning illegal immigration.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., are working on a bill that would allow children who are in the United States illegally to stay if they grew up in the country and have not had significant run-ins with the law, The Hill and Politico reported.

Durbin, Graham and other lawmakers are worried that if Trump rescinds Obama’s executive action shielding the children of undocumented immigrants from deportation, it would result in chaos for hundreds of thousands of young people.

“You can’t blame these kids for coming here, you can’t blame these kids for coming out of the shadows,” Graham told The Hill. “They’re out of the shadows, and now we know who they are. If we cancel the executive order, what happens to them? We deport them all?”

Graham has previously told reporters that he is particularly concerned for children who applied for protection under Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order, which Trump vowed during the campaign to undo. Trump has muddled a number of his policy positions since winning the election last month.

According to the secretary of homeland security, DACA allows certain undocumented immigrants to apply for renewable two-year deferred action from deportation as well as work permit eligibility. The policy was eligible to people who came to the U.S. before turning 16 years old and continuously lived in the U.S. from June 15, 2007, until the present time.

The anticipated Graham-Durbin legislation is intended to be a temporary solution until Congress passes comprehensive immigration reform that deals with the polarizing issue of undocumented residents.

Graham, a relatively moderate Republican on immigration issues, ran against Trump for the Republican Party’s nomination and refused to endorse the billionaire businessman after his victory. It’s unclear what support, if any, such a measure could garner from the Republican leadership in the House and Senate.