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Washington lawmakers vow to resolve stalemate on immigration issue

By , Columbian politics reporter
Published: February 18, 2018, 6:02am

Despite multiple promises and weeks of negotiation, a piece of bipartisan legislation intended to protect ‘Dreamers,’ young immigrants, failed Friday.

Four proposals made it to a vote in the Senate but none reached the 60-vote threshold and the House was unable to put forth legislation at all. Threats from the White House earlier in the week to veto a bill didn’t help either.

With the failed vote behind them, Washington’s lawmakers pledge to keep working toward legislation protecting those vulnerable immigrants from deportation.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said she will not stop fighting until suitable legislation is passed.

“Because President Trump and Congressional Republicans have refused to work with us to pass the clean DREAM Act, which would allow the millions of people who are currently living in fear to stay in the country they call home and start down the path to citizenship, I am working with Democrats and Republicans to see what can actually pass through this Republican Congress and get signed into law to protect as many people as possible while doing as little harm as possible to our immigration system and our American values,” Murray said in a statement.

Across the aisle, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, said she finds the failure disappointing.

“Everyone agrees that our immigration system is broken, and both parties should be involved in fixing the problems it’s created,” she said in a statement. “We must provide certainty for those individuals who were brought to the U.S. through no choice of their own and work to provide a way for them to stay in the country legally.”

Herrera Beutler favors an approach that offers protection for DACA recipients and increased border control.

Border control is a sticking point for Murray. The inclusion of such provisions garnered votes in favor of two bills and votes against the remaining proposals from the senator. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., also split her votes against the proposed bills but could not be reached for comment by press time.

“I will be working to change these specific provisions as this process continues,” she said earlier.

The terms of an eventual agreement certainly differ but one thing both parties appear to agree on is the need for immediate action.

Katy Sword: 360-735-4534; katy.sword@columbian.com. Twitter: twitter.com/katysword

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