Cory Gardner, Michael Bennet propose DACA fix with $25 billion for border security

Author: Ernest Luning - February 14, 2018 - Updated: November 4, 2018

U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet, a Democrat, and Cory Gardner, a Republican, discuss a bipartisan immigration reform bill the Colorado lawmakers are proposing along with four other senators intended to help avert a government shutdown. (Photo courtesy U.S. Senate)U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet, a Democrat, and Cory Gardner, a Republican, discuss their bipartisan immigration reform bill earlier this year. (Photo courtesy U.S. Senate)

Colorado U.S. Sens. Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet introduced immigration legislation Wednesday that includes a path to citizenship for certain young immigrants and funding for President Donald Trump’s border wall.

“This amendment is a reasonable solution to break through Washington gridlock and provide a compromise for Dreamers who are counting on us in Colorado and around the country,” Bennet, a Democrat, said in a statement. He added that the measure is the “result of each side accepting some things they don’t fully agree with.”

Gardner pitched the proposal as a compromise to resolve the stalemated debate over immigration that has consumed the Senate this week.

“This legislation addresses DACA and border security, and we are urging members on both sides of the aisle that want a solution to support our bipartisan approach to addressing our flawed immigration system,” the Yuma Republican said in a statement.

The measure shares elements with one proposed a month ago by Gardner, Bennet and four other senators that was rejected by Trump.

The legislation introduced Wednesday would establish a 12-year pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, immigrants brought to the United States as children who meet a number of conditions. It also allocates $25 billion in border-security funding over 10 years, including a down payment on a border wall with Mexico, as well as increased funding for immigration judges and a permanent authorization for an e-Verify program, used by employers to check immigration status.

But it doesn’t contain limitations on legal immigration — including restrictions on family-based immigration and an end to the diversity visa lottery — Trump has called priorities but that Democrats say could prevent legislation from getting enough support to pass the Senate.

The president on Tuesday got behind a bill proposed by Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley that includes those provision while also giving as many as 1.8 million so-called Dreamers a chance to become citizens.

Bennet and Gardner said Wednesday they’re committed to working toward a solution.

“There are many children who came to this country without documentation and we need to allow them the opportunity to remain here lawfully,” Gardner said. “Coloradans expect Senator Bennet and I to work together and that’s exactly what we have done.”

Bennet said they plan to “continue to work with our colleagues to advance this measure and take another step forward in fixing our broken immigration system.”

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.