December 21, 2017 / Modified dec 21, 2017 1:28 p.m.

Arizona Sen. Flake Promised Chance To Bring DACA Bill To Senate Floor

Congress has 75 days to enact permanent protections for 'Dreamers.'

Dreamer Banner DACA students and supporters gather after the President announced the end of the program that allowed dreamers to stay in the country. (PHOTO: Zac Ziegler)

Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake backed the tax reform bill partly in exchange for a chance to work on legislation that permanently protects DACA recipients. And now, Flake says Republican leadership has promised to let him bring a bill to the Senate floor in January.

Congress currently has about 75 days to act before the official phase out of the DACA program starts. But researchers and activists say thousands of so-called "Dreamers" are already losing protected status.

Flake and other senators are negotiating a bill to help DACA recipients, but it can’t pass on a party-line vote.

"Whatever we pass has to pass with 60 votes," Flake said during a news conference. "And that means we've got to have a bipartisan bill."

Flake has met twice with White House officials on what additional border security measures they want in the bill, and he expects them to provide a specific list of other items by the end of the week.

Arizona’s junior senator is not running for reelection next year. But Flake is confident Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will keep his promise, especially because Republicans will have a one-vote Senate majority in 2018.

“I’ve got a whole year,” Flake said. “That’s a long time to deny somebody a promise that was made, if they want a Senate to function.”

Fronteras Desk
This story is from the Fronteras Desk, a collaboration of Southwestern public radio stations, including NPR 89.1. Read more from the Fronteras Desk.
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