President Trump will deliver a speech as early as this week outlining an immigration reform plan that would bolster border security and create a more merit-based system, according to GOP senators who attended a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence Tuesday.
“The president is going to be giving a speech on it maybe as early as later this week,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, told the Washington Examiner as he left a closed-door meeting with fellow Republican senators and Pence. “So I’ll be interested to see how he rolls this out.”
Pence, along with Trump senior adviser Jared Kushner, and senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, briefed GOP senators on the plan, which would include both border security elements and the changes to bolster merit-based immigration.
“They had broad outlines of a plan,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said. “There were sort of six buckets, it had to do with employment, security, and humanitarian.”
Trump has held smaller meetings with GOP lawmakers at the White House to discuss the plan.
Tuesday’s meeting was aimed at uniting the GOP around a central plan.
“I don’t think it’s designed to get Democratic support as much as it is to unify the Republican Party around border security,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. “This is what we want on border security, this is what we want on merit-based immigration.”
The first part of the plan tackles legal immigration by limiting low-skilled migrants who enter the country based on family ties and replacing them high-skilled workers instead. The number of migrants entering the U.S., the administration says, would be left roughly unchanged. The second part of the proposal pertains to border security, with the White House aiming to beef it up — including more walls and updated ports of entry.
Immigration reform has historically been difficult to pass in Washington and it remains uncertain if such a plan can make it past the Republican Senate and Democratic-controlled House of Representatives. This thought was not lost on Republican lawmakers.
Graham believes, once the GOP coalesces around the plan, they would be in a position to negotiate with Democrats on how to move forward with the millions of illegals already living in the U.S. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), for example, has been suggested as a possible bargaining tool.
Personally the truth is that trying to work with the Democrats is nothing more than a huge waste of time.
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