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Every Senate immigration proposal on the table, in one simple chart

It makes clear that the disagreement is on legal immigration.

The Senate has opened debate on immigration, and there are at least seven proposals on the table.

The best way to think about these proposals is how they approach three broad categories of issues:

  • What to do with DREAMers, who were undocumented when they came to the US as children
  • What enforcement measures to implement, like a border wall
  • What changes they want to make to legal immigration, like eliminating visas for family-based immigration

The proposals being thrown out can be hard to keep track of, but we put them all in a chart that makes it much easier to see the similarities in the plans. The chart makes apparent that much of the disagreement is on cutting legal immigration. (My colleague Tara Golshan asked seven Republican senators why they want to cut legal immigration; their lack of a passionate defense is really worth reading.)

The immigration proposals that could get a vote, explained in brief

Let’s run through these various proposals in detail.

First, you have the White House’s demands, which have been mirrored in legislation from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA). The Grassley bill would:

  • Provide a path to citizenship for 1.8 million undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children
  • Offer $25 billion to fund a southern border wall
  • Substantially curtail family immigration and eliminating the diversity visa lottery program in such a way that would gut the legal immigration system.

It’s gained the support of conservatives like Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) but has been panned by Democrats and moderate Republicans.

Then there is a bipartisan agreement between Graham and Dick Durbin (D-IL). The Graham-Durbin plan would offer:

  • Provide a pathway to citizenship to more than 2 million young unauthorized immigrants
  • Offer about a year’s worth of funding, $2.5 billion, for a border wall
  • Eliminate the diversity visa lottery
  • Prevent DACA recipients from sponsoring their parents for legal status

But that proposal has been criticized by the White House and conservative hardliners for being too liberal.

The so-called Common Sense Caucus, a large bipartisan group led by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), with lead sponsors Sens. Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Angus King (I-ME), has finally released its own outline. The “Common Sense” plan, or Rounds plan, would:

  • Provide a path to citizenship for 1.8 million undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children
  • Offer $25 billion for border security
  • Prevent DACA recipients from sponsoring their parents for legal status
  • Tells Immigration and Customs Enforcement not to focus on unauthorized immigrants living in the US without criminal records

Then you have a new proposal from Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who had earlier been working with a bipartisan Gang of Six on an immigration plan. The Flake plan would:

  • Provide a path to citizenship for 1.8 million undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children
  • Fund up to $25 billion for border security
  • Eliminate diversity visas, after the program’s backlogs are eliminated
  • Restrict family-based migration

Flake has also floated a so-called punt on the DACA issue. The Flake punt would:

  • Protect DACA recipients from deportation for three years
  • Provide some unspecified border security funding

A bipartisan duo from Colorado, Republican Cory Gardner and Democrat Michael Bennet, has also released their own outline. The Gardner-Bennet plan would:

  • Provide a path to citizenship for 1.8 million undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children
  • Fund up to $25 billion for border security
  • Permanently reauthorizes E-Verify, the voluntary Department of Homeland Security program that checks workers’ immigration status
  • Does not change family-based migration

Got it? The big picture: There is really only one issue holding up the immigration talks.