Chuck Schumer tells McConnell an immigration deal 'won't be easy'

Senate fails to advance bipartisan bill for Dreamers

The proposal doesn't end the visa lottery Trump opposes.

Word of an agreement came as formal debate on immigration policy has mostly sputtered this week - a stalemate that has underscored the politically fraught nature of the showdown that is further complicated by GOP leaders' insistence that the Senate act by week's end.

"You're down to what most Americans would cheer: strong border security and fair treatment of 1.8 million DACA population", said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of SC, referring to the young immigrants. They won't be able to see if the Trump plan fails first and then move to the pared-down bipartisan measure as a fallback.

U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in NY wrote that the program "simply reflected the Obama Administration's determination that DHS's limited enforcement resources generally should not be used to deport individuals who were brought to the United States as children, met educational or military-service requirements, and lacked meaningful criminal records". "Nine hours down the drain because Democrats won't let us start the debate they spent months demanding". Dick Durbin, the Democratic whip.

FILE - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., leaves the chamber after announcing an agreement in the Senate on a two-year, nearly $400 billion budget deal, at the Capitol in Washington, Feb. 7, 2018.

But supporters of the bipartisan measures counter that senators need to focus on what can pass their own chamber before worrying about the House GOP or Trump - who has sent mixed signals about his determination to help the Dreamers. Angus King, I-Maine, Joe Manchin, D-W. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., saying it would cover 1.8 million of them. King, Manchin and Kaine are up for reelection this year.

In his statement Wednesday, Trump said, "The Grassley bill accomplishes the four pillars of the White House Framework: a lasting solution on DACA, ending chain migration, cancelling the visa lottery, and securing the border through building the wall and closing legal loopholes".

In the House, Speaker Paul Ryan is taking fire from some in his rank-and-file who want a broader bill that can better enable a crackdown on border crossings and employers who hire undocumented immigrants.

Despite the breakthrough, there was no guarantee late Wednesday that the plan would find sufficient support or even earn a vote as early as Thursday.

Aides to Rounds, Collins and other GOP senators didn't immediately respond to requests for comment about details of the legislation.

Trump's latest warning might also deter senators in both parties who are already anxious about debating such an emotionally hard issue at the start of an election year.

Any immigration proposal will need three-fifths backing to advance in the Senate, where Republicans have a slim one-seat majority.

Speaking on the Senate floor, Democratic Senator and Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer was critical of the Republican moves.

While not specifically mentioning the bipartisan pact, Trump urged lawmakers to oppose any plan that doesn't meet his more stringent demands, which include legal immigration curbs.

"On a conference call with reporters, senior administration officials said the president had made significant concessions to Senate Democrats".

Some 690,000 Dreamers registered under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) programme - plus 1.1 million others who were eligible but did not sign up - could begin to face deportation by that date if no fix is in place. "And I've had to ask myself many times, what are you willing to swallow to give 1.8 million dreamers a path to citizenship".

But they added that the border security provisions and the cuts to legal immigration channels are required to stem unauthorized immigration, reduce a lengthy backlog in the green-card process and reduce immigration levels that, the White House argues, have harmed American workers. "Republicans want to make a deal and Democrats say they want to make a deal", Trump said Tuesday on Twitter.

Grassley's bill mirrors priorities Trump has put forward.

The president "wants this solved", Perdue added.

At a House Budget Committee hearing, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney stated several times that the administration's fiscal 2019 budget presumes Congress will strike a deal. Grassley. Some Republicans say they are holding out for that version. In fact, a recent court ruling has rendered that deadline meaningless.

The New York Times reported in mid-January that "because there are numerical limits for family-based immigration each year, there is a long queue for visas", crediting the State Department for data showing that November 1, 2017, more than 3.9 million people were waiting in line. By Ed O'Keefe, David Nakamura and Mike Debonis.

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