WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) today urged Senate immigration negotiators to “look to this framework” unveiled last week by the White House “as they work towards an agreement.”
“As I noted, it builds upon the four pillars for reform that the president has consistently put forth, and indicates what is necessary for him to sign a bill into law,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.
The framework released by the administration Thursday includes a “$25 billion trust fund for the border wall system, ports of entry/exit, and northern border improvements and enhancements,” a limitation of family reunification to spouses and minor children, and a “10-12 year path to citizenship, with requirements for work, education and good moral character” for those already registered or eligible for the rescinded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
The White House also wants to eliminate the visa lottery “and reallocate the visas to reduce the family-based ‘backlog’ and high-skilled employment ‘backlog.’”
“The president’s proposal has received praise as a serious effort to solve some of the problems with our broken immigration system,” McConnell said. “Not surprisingly with a subject this complicated, it has also received criticism on both the right and the left. Constructive critiques are one thing. But the type of irresponsible racial invective used — yet again — on this subject by the Democratic leader of the House is decidedly unhelpful. Those comments are precisely the kind of divisive partisanship that can dim the prospects that a bipartisan compromise could become law.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) slammed the White House proposal as a campaign to “make America white again.” She fired back today that McConnell hadn’t slammed Trump for his “foul” comments about immigrants.
“The American people elected us to legislate, not to trade insults,” McConnell said. “To resolve president Obama’s unlawfully established DACA program and other important issues in immigration, I urge my Democratic colleagues to put serious, good-faith discussions ahead of cheap partisan point-scoring.”
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on the Senate floor that he hopes “our moderate senators will strive to find a narrow bill on DACA and border security that can pass.”
“Expanding this beyond DACA and border security, as the White House framework tries to do, will only delay a solution to a time-sensitive problem,” he said.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders argued at the daily briefing that the president’s plan “will protect our people, put the interests of American workers first, and provide a permanent solution to DACA.”
“Our framework includes four pillars: border security, including the wall; DACA legalization; ending extended-family chain migration; and eliminating the visa lottery, moving us toward a merit-based system of immigration,” she said. “We look forward to working with Congress to pass and sign legislation that addresses each of these four pillars.”