WATCH: Sen. Lankford delivers Senate floor speech on DACA, immigration
WASHINGTON, D.C. —
The Senate began its open-ended debate on settling immigration reform Monday.
"It's time to move from just debating this in the hallways and in our offices to debating it on the floor of this chamber and trying to get this resolved," said Oklahoma Senator James Lankford, who took to the chamber floor Monday evening.
Lawmakers are running out of time to find a solution on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals act after President Donald Trump imposed a March 5 deadline on Congress. But Sen. Lankford, in his floor speech, says his fellow lawmakers should use that to their advantage.
"The president actually gave the nation a great gift at that time, a deadline," said Lankford. "Immigration for two decades has been well known to be a problem, but there has been no deadline. The president set the deadline of March 5th To have this resolved. We're nearing that now."
Lankford is an advocate for the Secure and Succeed Act, one of the first bills to be introduced during the debate process and a bill that closely mirrors President Trump's plan for settling the DACA and immigration dispute. It offers 1.8 million DACA-eligible recipients a chance for citizenship while adding to border security, ending the visa lottery program and clamping down on so-called chain migration.
"What we are doing is taking those individuals that are in DACA and say let's take ten years to be able to move to naturalization," said Lankford. "During that ten-year time period, we also want to set up the basics of border security. That gives us time to get security first and naturalization second for those individuals, but both with great certainty."
However, the plan, sponsored by seven Republican senators including Lankford, needs 60 votes to pass and doesn't appear that it will garner any Democratic support. Sen. Lankford remains hopeful that the sides can put partisanship aside to get a deal done.
" I hope we can keep this civil and open and fact-based rather than charged with emotion and accusations," said Lankford. "We all want to help the country. Let's work on helping the country together this week."