McConnell: 'Past time' for immigration-border security deal

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump seeking challenger to McConnell as Senate GOP leader: report Budget chairman: Debt ceiling fight 'a ridiculous position to be in' Buckle up for more Trump, courtesy of the Democratic Party MORE (R-Ky.) said Thursday that it is "way past time" for Congress to try to get a deal on border security and immigration.

"I think it's way past time, on both sides, that we sit down together and see what we could agree to to improve the situation — not only border security, but also the asylum laws are very challenging," McConnell said.

The GOP leader said it's "way past time for us to have an adult, bipartisan discussion about our immigration laws and see what we can agree to."

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His comments come as President TrumpDonald TrumpCapitol fencing starts coming down after 'Justice for J6' rally Netanyahu suggests Biden fell asleep in meeting with Israeli PM Aides try to keep Biden away from unscripted events or long interviews, book claims MORE has lashed out at Democrats over border security this week, saying in a tweet on Wednesday night that their actions on the issue were "treasonous." 

"What the Democrats are doing with the Border is TREASONOUS. Their Open Border mindset is putting our Country at risk. Will not let this happen!" Trump wrote in the tweet.

Despite the tweet, the White House has been quietly trying to reach out to Democrats to try to see if there is a path forward on immigration legislation.

Acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyHeadhunters having hard time finding jobs for former Trump officials: report Trump holdovers are denying Social Security benefits to the hardest working Americans Mulvaney calls Trump's comments on Capitol riot 'manifestly false' MORE and acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan met with a group of Senate Democrats this week, including Sens. Dick DurbinDick DurbinSenate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants Democrats hope Biden can flip Manchin and Sinema MORE (Ill.), Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenSenate lawmakers let frustration show with Blinken We have a plan that prioritizes Afghanistan's women — we're just not using it Scott Brown's wife files to run for Congress MORE (N.H.) and Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinRepublicans caught in California's recall trap F-35 fighter jets may fall behind adversaries, House committee warns Warren, Daines introduce bill honoring 13 killed in Kabul attack MORE (Calif.).

McConnell added on Thursday that any immigration legislation should touch on not only border security but also changes to the asylum laws, adding that it would also have to be bipartisan.

The fresh talk about an immigration and border deal comes amid a shake-up at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in recent days, which has seen the departure of nearly all senior department officials over the past week.

"It can't all be solved by changing personnel, some of it requires changing the law. That means we have to deal with the Democrats. They're in the majority in the House," McConnell said Thursday.

Some GOP senators, including Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonDomestic extremists return to the Capitol GOP senator: Buying Treasury bonds 'foolish' amid standoff over debt ceiling, taxes Internal poll shows Barnes with 29-point lead in Wisconsin Democratic Senate primary MORE (Wis.), have floated rolling out new legislation to deal with the asylum law and other migrants detained along the border.

McConnell, asked if he would be reaching out Democrats, predicted that they would see the comments he made Thursday during a pen-and-pad meeting with reporters at the Capitol.

"We talk to each other. And we all read what each other says and I just said how I felt about that," he said.

Asked if he would support opening the discussions up to comprehensive immigration reform — a tall legislative ask in an era of divided government where immigration has been deeply partisan — the GOP leader sidestepped.

"I'm willing to enter into a negotiation to see what we can do to fix the problems," he said.