Senate Democrats not sold on bipartisan immigration deal

Senate Democrats not sold on bipartisan immigration deal
© Greg Nash

Senate Democrats say part of the caucus has serious concerns about a bipartisan immigration compromise, underscoring the uphill path for the proposal to get 60 votes. 

"I'm telling you, there are people with serious issues over this compromise," Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDeal to fix family separations hits snag in the Senate Senate Democrats block resolution supporting ICE Senate Dems press for info on any deals from Trump-Putin meeting MORE (Ill.), the No. 2 Senate Democrat, told reporters Wednesday after a closed-door caucus meeting.
While it wouldn't touch the State Department's diversity visa lottery, senators — speaking to reporters while carrying around text of the legislation — said it would prevent "Dreamers" from sponsoring a parent who knowingly brought them into the country illegally. 
Durbin said the fate of the parents and funding for a controversial U.S.-Mexico border wall are two sticking point viewed by some members of the Democratic caucus as "unacceptable." 
"We're not there yet. We still have to solidify our caucus," he said, asked if the bipartisan group's proposal had the support to pass. 
If the immigration deal can win over every Democrat — which is not guaranteed — supporters would need to win over 11 Republicans to overcome a 60-vote threshold. 
Asked as he was leaving the caucus meeting if the deal could pass, Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats slam Trump for considering Putin’s ’absurd’ request to question Americans Judge Kavanaugh confounds the left This week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation MORE (D-N.Y.) turned toward reporters and appeared to be about to say something, before ultimately walking away. 
“This is one of the hardest issues Congress has had to grapple with in recent years. Each side has had to give a great deal, but we are closer than we have ever been to passing something in the Senate to help the Dreamers,” Schumer said later in a statement.
Parents of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients have emerged as a flashpoint in the months-long immigration negotiations. 
Progressives are loath to include any changes to family-based or legal immigration as part of the negotiations. Many Republicans, however, view the changes as a must if a path to citizenship is on the table for the children. 
House Democratic leaders have repeatedly said that any changes to family-based immigration or the State Department's diversity visa lottery are non-starters for them.
Coons and Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainEx-Montenegro leader fires back at Trump: ‘Strangest president' in history McCain: Trump plays into 'Putin's hands' by attacking Montenegro, questioning NATO obligations Joe Lieberman urges voters to back Crowley over Ocasio-Cortez in general MORE (R-Ariz.) are offering an amendment that would just deal with DACA and border security. But Coons said on Wednesday that he expected the measure would garner "very few" Republican votes, meaning it will fall short of 60. 
He added that the bipartisan group's compromise is a "really strong proposal" that deals with most of the four pillars preferred by the White House. 
"[This] strikes me as having touched three of the pillars that we have heard over and over," he added. 
Under a deal reached in January, lawmakers agreed to focus on four "pillars" in the immigration negotiations: DACA, border security, family-based immigration and the visa lottery. 
Democrats counter that changes in enforcement fall outside the scope of the four pillars.