Sen. Thom Tillis said Tuesday that the SUCCEED Act, which he's cosponsoring with Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, will help add security for "Dreamers" who could be affected by President Donald Trump's call to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
The North Carolina Republican explained on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program that under the qualifications of the proposed legislation, "most of the Dreamers will be qualified for it. We're also trying to prevent this from occurring again [by] setting a very high bar for future generations who may try to come across the border, parents with children."
SUCCEED, which stands for "Solution for Undocumented Children through Careers Employment Education and Defending our nation," was introduced as a solution to the DACA program, after Trump gave Congress six months to devise a solution for the issue.
The act requires that immigrants be either employed, in the military, or pursuing higher education, and it allows them to apply for a protective status term of five months. If they continue to remain in good standing with the law, they can eventually become naturalized citizens.
Tillis also discussed the impasse when it comes to healthcare legislation, saying he believes Congress knows it will have to provide some solution if the Graham-Cassidy reform/repeal measure does not pass.
"We will still have premiums doubled over the last four years," Tillis said. "We have almost half the counties in the United States only going to have one choice on healthcare next year for insurance policy. We've got a number of other structural problems. We've still got a problem to fix. Whether it's this bill under reconciliation or bipartisan bill, we cannot go away from this issue until we fix it."
Tillis also noted that between the time Trump was campaigning and the time he became president, he's moved around on the issues that have resonated with different people on both sides of the aisle.
"I, for one, want to just focus on three things we promised we would get done next year, a solution for healthcare, tax reform, and work on infrastructure," Tillis said. "I'm really all about removing all the distractions and really trying to have a reasonable discussion with Democrats to work with us. Some on the other side of the aisle simply will not work with us, regardless of what they say about bipartisanship."
As a member of the Armed Services Committee, Tillis said he's also worried about the 30,000 U.S. soldiers stationed in South Korea, and the hundreds of thousands of American nationals who live in and around Seoul, as tensions mount with North Korea.
"We've got to get China to play a role," he said. "They've got an interesting relationship with North Korea, but it's in their best interest to keep the region stable, in their best economic and social interest to keep the region stable.The escalation is something that does concern me. It's something we have to have a firmer hand on. We've shown what being passive in the face of aggressive actions by North Korea are provocative actions."
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