Tillis-Sinema immigration deal falls short

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  • A last-minute immigration deal developed by N.C. Sen. Thom Tillis and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema will not face a vote before Congress adjourns.
  • Tillis and Sinema did not secure 60 votes to overcome a likely filibuster.

The U.S. Senate will not address a proposed immigration deal brokered by Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina and former Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, now an independent. CBS News cites “congressional officials familiar with the matter” who confirm no vote will take place before the current Congress wraps up work this year.

Tillis and Sinema “had been discussing a potential deal that would have included the legalization of a subset of the millions of unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S., as well as certain measures aimed at reducing illegal crossings along the U.S.-Mexico border,” according to the television network.

“But Sinema and Tillis did not strike a deal that would have been able to secure the necessary 60 votes in the evenly divided Senate during the lame-duck session, three congressional officials said, requesting anonymity to describe the outcome of internal negotiations,” CBS News reported.

Senators need to secure 60 votes in the 100-member chamber to avoid a filibuster that would block legislation. Had a bill cleared the Senate, it also would have required a vote in the U.S. House. Democratic control of the House ends with the new year, as the midterm elections gave Republicans control of Congress’ lower chamber.

“One of the congressional aides familiar with the talks said there wasn’t enough time for Sinema and Tillis to reach a deal before the end of the year, especially given ongoing efforts to pass government funding bills,” according to the CBS report. “The aide said a framework stemming from the talks could serve as the basis for a bill in the next Congress.”

Congress approved the last major change to American immigration policy in the 1990s.

In addition to significant changes in the U.S. House next year, Tillis will see a major change in his own chamber. Fellow Republican Richard Burr is retiring after 18 years in the U.S. Senate and 28 years on Capitol Hill.

Current 13th District U.S. Rep. Ted Budd, also a Republican, will take Burr’s seat in the new Congress. Budd focused attention on border security during his campaign for office.