McConnell: Open Debate on Immigration Does Not Mean Unlimited Debate

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Senator Mitch McConnell is making one thing clear: it is now or never on immigration.  The Majority Leader has vowed to have an open debate policy when it came to an immigration bill this week, notably allowing an “opportunity for a thousand flowers to bloom,” he said.

But McConnell is making it clear that open-debate doesn’t mean endless debate.  And yesterday he said debate on an immigration bill will end this week, giving the Senate 2-3 days to come up with a solution.  If it doesn’t reform will once again fall short of the finish line.

A group of Republican Senators unveiled a framework this week that provides a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children, and allocates $25 billion to border security, including funding for the border wall.

The bill limits family-based immigration to the immediate family of an emigrant and essentially ends the visa lottery.  But it takes the allowance for the visa lottery (currently 55,000 visas) and allocates it to all existing family-based visa applications, granting everyone who is already in line a visa approval.  A reward, the Senators say, for those who chose to follow the law and immigrate legally.

The plan, they say, has the support of the White House and contains a solution for DACA, a Democratic demand.  Democrats however, have not supported the bill.

Democrats seem to be hoping to put their own plan forward that will have the unanimous support of their own caucus and support from just enough Republicans (eleven would be required to pass a bill, assuming unanimous Democratic) to pass out of the senate.

Republican leadership however, are doubtful such a pathway’s viability.  “Sen. Durbin was quoted this morning saying his goal was to get all Democrats and 11 Republicans to vote for a bill in the Senate, but I would just point out that is not a pathway to success,” said Senate Republicans’ No. 2, John Cornyn of Texas.

“That says nothing about what happens in the House and that says nothing about the necessity of a presidential signature,” he added.

 

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