The Department of Homeland Security slammed a "skinny" immigration proposal by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., for how it ignores the recommendations the department's "front-line operators" made regarding policy reforms.
"The McCain-Coons proposal does not authorize a single penny for appropriations for border security, ensuring that our nation’s border is never secured or our national security protected," DHS said in a press release issued Wednesday. "Rather than securing our border, the McCain-Coons proposal requires DHS to submit a strategy on border security Congress - something that DHS has already done."
McCain, who is still in Arizona receiving chemotherapy treatments and recovery, and Coons proposed a bill earlier this week that would give a pathway to citizenship for 3.2 million illegal immigrants and offered only $3 billion of the $25 billion President Trump had requested for border security.
"Rather than implementing DHS’ strategy, the McCain-Coons proposal completely ignores it and instead asks DHS to submit another, redundant plan," Homeland Security officials wrote. "This is an insult to the expert men and women who spent thousands of hours putting together the plan that the McCain-Coons proposal summarily rejects."
In addition, because the proposal would apply to anyone who illegally entered the U.S. before 2013 and was under the age of 18 at the time, there is no age limit to applying for citizenship, which means "an eligible recipient could now be 65 years old, or older."
DHS added the proposal could waive prior criminal records of felons, including someone convicted of a firearms offense who U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement would otherwise deem deportable.
"Under the bill, criminal grounds of ineligibility are subject to extremely broad waivers, such that even felonies can be waived. The waivers are so broad that they essentially exempt this class of aliens from criminal removal grounds that apply to other aliens. Contrary to current law—and even President Obama’s DACA policy—the expunged records cannot be considered," the department said.
The department said the bill does not seek to resolve the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, but is instead a "mass legalization bill" that would be applicable to four times the number of DACA recipients.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Grassley endorsed the McCain-Coons proposal on Tuesday, but Republican leadership is not convinced it contains enough of Trump's demands.
The proposal would continue the diversity visa lottery, which Trump has called for to be replaced by a merit-based system. The termination of the visa lottery was also part of the bipartisan Gang of Eight deal in 2013.
It would also maintain "chain migration," which allows those given permanent residency the chance to sponsor immediate and extended family members for visas.
Instead, DHS said the Trump administration's four-point immigration framework, as outlined in Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley's bill, ought to be the focus of the Senate's attention because it ties up loopholes that continue to drive illegal immigration.