The Senate began its immigration debate began on Monday, but bipartisan leaders admit they are aware it is going to be a difficult one. The debate is expected to end by the end of the week with a vote on President Donald Trump’s own proposal.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called on Democrats to put words into action in order to find a solution that could be passed by Congress and be acceptable for Trump.
“The time for political posturing is behind us. Now’s the time to back up the talk with the hard work of finding a solution,” McConnell said.
Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer opposed President Trump’s proposal, which would give a path to citizenship to 1.8 million young undocumented immigrants in exchange for $25 billion for a border wall with Mexico and curbs on legal immigration, The Washington Post writes. For many other Democrats as well the proposals are non-starters.
“The only enemy here is overreach,” Schumer said. “Now is not the time nor the place to reform the entire legal immigration system. Rather, this is the time for a narrow bill,” Schumer said.
The comments follow a 97-1 vote to begin an open-ended immigration debate which McConnell had promised. Despite expectations that it will be closed by the end of the week, it is unclear what exactly will happen.
“This is going to be done or not done this week,” No. 2 Senate GOP leader John Cornyn said.
The focus of the debate are the so-called Dreamers, whose protection expires on March 5. Trump’s immigration plan, however, stands little to no chance of prevailing in the Senate and getting the necessary 60 votes.
On Monday, both Republicans and Democrats put the responsibility to reach an agreement on the other party. Trump expressed hope “the Democrats are not going to use it just as a campaign” issue, while No. 2 Senate Democratic leader Richard Durbin said the main obstacle in striking a deal is Trump’s history of switching positions on the issue.
“Nailing the president down has been next to impossible,” he said.