WASHINGTON – Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Wednesday that he is not clear on what President Donald Trump wants included in the immigration agreement being negotiated with Democratic lawmakers to provide a solution for the young undocumented migrants who entered the country as children but are now facing potential deportation.
“I’m looking for something that President Trump supports. And he’s not yet indicated what measure he’s willing to sign,” McConnell told reporters on Wednesday.
“As soon as we figure out what he is for, then I would be convinced that we were not just spinning our wheels going to this issue on the floor but actually dealing with a bill that has a chance to become law and therefore solve the problem,” the GOP Senate leader added.
The negotiating group, comprised of three Democratic and three Republican senators, last week reached an agreement in principle on a bill to provide citizenship for more than one million young undocumented foreigners known as Dreamers who are presently at risk of being deported even though they grew up in the US.
The bipartisan group of senators – including Republicans Lindsey Graham, Jeff Flake and Cory Gardner and Democrats Dick Durbin, Robert Menendez and Michael Bennet – said in a statement that they had been negotiating for four months and have arrived at an “agreement in principle” to resolve the Dreamers’ immigration crisis.
The senators say that the agreement also deals with three other points that Trump has linked to any bill to replace the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program implemented by former President Barack Obama in 2012 to protect the Dreamers.
Those demands include strengthening border security, eliminating the so-called “visa lottery” that annually benefits thousands of citizens of countries with a low rate of immigration to the US and ending “chain migration,” whereby permanent residents of the US may facilitate the entry of their relatives into this country.
However, despite the agreement reached in the Senate, the negotiations with the White House blew up when vulgar comments made by Trump leaked to the press.
The president, while meeting with the bipartisan group, asked why the US should take more immigrants from “s---hole countries” like El Salvador and Haiti.
The leaking of that remark put the immigration negotiations in jeopardy, even though the Democrats had agreed to provide a certain amount of funding for the construction of the US-Mexico border wall that Trump has been promising ever since his election campaign and would fulfill his demands to increase funding for additional border security measures.