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Durbin: Senators to release immigration bill Wednesday

Durbin: Senators to release immigration bill Wednesday
© Greg Nash

Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinAmerica’s waning commitment to the promise of the First Amendment Senate rejects Trump immigration plan What to watch for in the Senate immigration votes MORE (D-Ill.) said that a bipartisan group of senators will release their immigration and border security bill on Wednesday, despite pushback from President TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out 'subversion' at VA MORE.

"It will be available tomorrow and we're prepared for a vote as quickly as possible," Durbin told reporters on Tuesday

He added that the group of six senators are urging Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers feel pressure on guns Bipartisan group of House lawmakers urge action on Export-Import Bank nominees Curbelo Dem rival lashes out over immigration failure MORE (R-Ky.) to give them a "test vote" to show the level of support for the forthcoming legislation. 

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"And if it is successful, as I believe it will be, [I hope] that Sen. McConnell will include it as an amendment to must-pass legislation," Durbin said.

Durbin didn't specify what "must-pass legislation" he was referring to, but Congress has roughly four days to pass a short-term stopgap funding bill to prevent a government shutdown. 

Democrats have remained tight-lipped about if they will support the funding bill, known as a continuing resolution or CR, without an immigration deal.

Spokespeople for Republican Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamCongress punts fight over Dreamers to March Pence tours Rio Grande between US and Mexico GOP looks for Plan B after failure of immigration measures MORE (S.C.) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake to try to force vote on DACA stopgap plan Congress punts fight over Dreamers to March Outgoing GOP rep: Republican Party 'heading into trouble' in election MORE (Ariz.), two GOP members of the so-called Gang of Six, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the timing of the legislation or what a potential "test vote" could be. 

In addition to Flake, Graham and Durbin, Democratic Sens. Bob Menendez (N.J.) and Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetColorado senators pitch immigration compromise Colorado senators mark Olympics with Senate hallway curling GOP Senate candidate fundraising lags behind Dems in key races MORE (Colo.) as well as GOP Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerThe siren of Baton Rouge Senate confirms John Demers to head DOJ national security division Senate rejects bipartisan measure as immigration votes begin MORE (Colo.) have been negotiating the agreement.

Flake has signaled that they've picked up additional supporters, though a spokesman for Durbin didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Senate group's bill is expected to tie a pathway to citizenship to roughly $2.7 billion in border security.

It's also expected to shuffle some of the diversity lottery visas toward Temporary Protected Status (TPS) countries and make changes to family-based immigration that would be limited to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and their family members.

But the group could face an uphill battle to get a floor vote. McConnell has said he will only bring up an immigration bill if the president has indicated that he'll sign it.

Trump sparked a political firestorm after he reportedly referred to several developing nations as "shithole countries" during a meeting with Durbin, Graham and several conservative lawmakers last week.

The president has also blasted the bipartisan group's bill, saying Durbin "blew" the chances of an agreement on the Obama-era DACA program which allows certain young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children to work and go to school in the U.S. 

"The Democrats want to shut down the Government over Amnesty for all and Border Security. ... We need a merit based system of immigration, and we need it now! No more dangerous Lottery," Trump said in a tweet on Tuesday

Conservative lawmakers have also criticized the legislation for not including tougher interior enforcement measures.