Kushner, Miller talk immigration at Senate GOP lunch

Kushner, Miller talk immigration at Senate GOP lunch
© Greg Nash

White House senior adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Trump jumps into 2020 race The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Trump jumps into 2020 race Kushner meeting with senators to craft asylum deal MORE briefed the Senate GOP conference Tuesday on the White House's plan to overhaul legal immigration as part of an effort to build support for the forthcoming proposal. 

 
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Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSecond ex-Senate staffer charged in aiding doxxing of GOP senators Second ex-Senate staffer charged in aiding doxxing of GOP senators Meghan McCain clashes with Joy Behar as the 'sacrificial Republican' on 'The View' MORE (R-S.C.), whose panel has jurisdiction on immigration proposals, characterized the White House plan as an effort to unite Republicans on border security and immigration and give Trump a proposal that he can use to define what he supports. 
 
"I don't think it's designed to get Democratic support as much as it is to unify the Republican Party around border security," he said. 
 
Graham added that the White House was trying to unify Republicans around a "negotiating position" that would allow the party to say "this is what we want on border security. This is what we want on merit-based immigration and then we'll have to sit down and find common ground on the 11 million." 
 
Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoBipartisan senators propose forcing EPA to set drinking water standard for 'forever chemicals' Bipartisan senators propose forcing EPA to set drinking water standard for 'forever chemicals' August recess under threat as yearly spending bills pile up MORE (R-W.Va.), who chairs the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, said the presentation represented the "broad outlines of a plan." She added that the White House proposal included "six buckets" that covered areas including employment status and humanitarian assistance. 
 
The meeting with the full Republican conference comes after roughly a dozen GOP senators went to the White House earlier this month to discuss legislation to transition the system for legal immigration to a "merit-based" system.
 
The White House proposal, which was spearheaded by Kushner, would not cut the total number of legal immigrants, roughly 1.1 million, accepted into the United States every year. Instead, senators say it would try to shift the federal government's preference for who gets green cards to those with specific job skills instead of family-based immigration. 
 
But any immigration proposal faces uphill odds on Capitol Hill, where multiple pieces of legislation have failed in both the House and Senate. 
 
The Senate rejected four immigration plans in 2018, including a White House–backed measure that provided a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, included $25 billion for border security, tougher interior enforcement and new limits on legal immigration. 
 
A bill by Sens. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonOvernight Defense: US to send 1K more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions | Iran threatens to break limit on uranium production in 10 days | US accuses Iran of 'nuclear blackmail' | Details on key defense bill amendments Overnight Defense: US to send 1K more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions | Iran threatens to break limit on uranium production in 10 days | US accuses Iran of 'nuclear blackmail' | Details on key defense bill amendments Iran announces it will exceed uranium stockpile restraints of nuclear deal MORE (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) that would have overhauled legal immigration but included cuts to the total number of immigrants awarded green cards also failed to make headway, stalling in the Senate Judiciary Committee despite Trump's endorsement of the legislation.
 
 
"There was a lot of encouragement in the room today for the work they've done," he said. "A lot of encouragement."