Lawmakers in the Senate are poised to continue immigration negotiations after voting 81-18 to advance a bill to fund the government through Feb. 8, ending a government shutdown that started Friday night.
“If we learned anything during this process, it’s that a strategy to shut down the government over an issue of illegal immigration is something the American people didn’t understand,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Monday before the Senate voted to advance the short-term spending bill. “And would not have understood in the future. So I’m glad we’ve gotten past that and we have a chance now to get back to work.”
Democrats wanted legislation to address protections for the recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program started by President Barack Obama, and refused to vote for a spending bill that did not address the matter. President Donald Trump has given Congress a March 5 deadline to take action on the program.
“After several discussions, offers, counteroffers, the Republican leader and I have come to an arrangement,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Monday.
“We will vote today to reopen the government to continue negotiating a global agreement, with the commitment that, if an agreement isn’t reached by Feb. 8, the Senate will immediately proceed to consideration of legislation dealing with DACA.”
House Republican leadership has promised Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, a vote on a bill similar to an immigration bill proposed by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., Roll Call reported.
Goodlatte’s bill would give legal status to DACA recipients for three years, and it would be renewable. The bill would end the Diversity Visa Lottery and require employers to use E-Verify to check the immigration status of workers, as well as authorize a wall, and other efforts designed to increase border security.
Another proposal in the Senate from Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., would allow a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients and allocate $2.705 billion in border security reforms.
President Donald Trump, who made immigration reform and border security a top priority of his 2016 presidential campaign, praised Republicans’ resolve in the midst of the government shutdown.
End the Democrats Obstruction! https://t.co/tzBXilvW1b
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 22, 2018
In the White House press briefing Monday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reiterated the administration’s position on the government shutdown.
“We’re pleased to see Sen. Schumer accept the deal that President Trump put on the table from the very beginning, which was to responsibly fund the government and debate immigration as a separate issue,” Sanders said.