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Bennet, Gardner Team Up On DACA Solution

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – Colorado's two senators say they have a solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA.

Fifteen states, not including Colorado, are now suing the federal government following President Trump's announcement about ending the program.

DACA protects young immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally from deportation.

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Senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner are now working on legislation to keep the program going.

Both senators believe they have the votes in Congress to pass their bill, which would give dreamers a path to citizenship.

Senators Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet
Sens. Cory Gardner, left, and Michael Bennet, right (credit: CBS)

The move is significant not only because it shows bipartisanship, but also because Gardner, a Republican, and Bennet, a Democrat, have considerable influence within their parties.

They both have a track record of working together for Colorado on topics from education reform, water conservation, the VA hospital to the Gold King mine clean up.

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When the White House made a decision that could result in the deportation of 17,000 young people in Colorado, the two senators co-sponsored a bill to stop it.

"This brings some common sense in bipartisan fashion to immigration policies," said Sen. Gardner.

For Gardner, who holds a leadership position in the Senate, it's especially notable.

He's one of only four Republicans on the bill. While he opposed former President Barack Obama's executive action, he came out in support of legal status for dreamers a couple years ago.

His co-sponsorship of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, also known as the DREAM Act, means he won't just support it now, he'll fight for it.

"I brought it up with Senator McConnell yesterday to bring a solution to a debate that Congress should have had years ago up and that we can have going forward," said Gardner.

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For Bennet, the move isn't surprising but still significant as well.

As a member of the "Gang of Eight," which brought the comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2013, he's been a leader on the issue and has worked across the aisle.

"I think it shows a strong bipartisan point of view from purple state that we should stop playing politics with issue and resolve it for the benefit not just for dreamers but country as well," said Bennet.

Both senators are hoping lawmakers won't try to attach other things to the bill that could impact its passage.

Both also hope it's a start toward comprehensive immigration reform.

Bennet told CBS4's Political Specialist Shaun Boyd the Gang of Eight is planning to reintroduce its bill as early as this fall.

He says it's not just dreamers, but Colorado ranchers, farmers and business owners impacted by what he calls a broken system.

RELATED: Coffman Plans To Force Vote On DACA Extension

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