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Bipartisan duo drafts last-minute plan for immigration deal

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WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — A bipartisan Senate duo is working to revive negotiations for a potential last-minute push to enact immigration reform before the end of the year.

The deal’s details were first reported by The Washington Post opinion columnist Greg Sargent, who wrote that Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) reached an agreement to grant a path to citizenship to about 2 million Dreamers, while speeding up elements of the asylum process and spending more money on border security.

It comes as Title 42 immigration restrictions are set to end on Dec. 21.

With it being a compromise plan, some criticism of it has come from both immigration supporters who believe it doesn’t provide enough relief and from those who worry about providing amnesty to more undocumented immigrants.

Immigration advocates have been hankering for news of any sort of deal to protect Dreamers — undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as minors — since the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program unlawful in October.

But the supposed Tillis-Sinema deal, like all immigration deals, could face multiple snags.

While it should be relatively painless politically for a Republican like Tillis to move a deal favoring a sympathetic group like Dreamers, news of the possible deal brought mixed reactions.

The Federal for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) believes in strong borders and quickly attacked Tillis, tweeting: “What on Earth is @SenThomTillis doing? Instead of trying to reverse a historic crisis and restore law and order to our immigration system, he’s working with Democrats to amnesty millions of illegal aliens and process as many migrants as possible!”

Meanwhile, FWD.us., which pushes for immigration reform, called the possible deal encouraging.

“The consequences for DACA ending without legislation are devastating. This lame duck is the chance. We are encouraged by the reported bipartisan progress between Senators Sinema and Tillis around a compromise for Dreamer legislation,” tweeted Todd Schulte, president of FWD.us.

While most polls show a majority of GOP voters take a much softer line on groups like Dreamers, the party’s base will likely expect hard concessions in return.

As reported, the deal’s expansions of the asylum process include speeding up the removals of migrants who don’t qualify for the asylum program.

If that expansion translates to mass deportations from the interior, the deal risks losing Democratic support, particularly as other groups of immigrants, like Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, are not covered.

Sinema and Tillis will need at least 60 votes in the Senate to avoid a filibuster that would stop the legislation. 

The Hill contributed to this report.

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