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 KushnerWhite House encouraging investment in Middle East as part of peace plan Bank staff highlighted 'suspicious activity' in Trump-, Kushner-controlled accounts: report Trump: 'Good chance' Dems give immigration 'win' after Pelosi called White House plan 'dead on arrival' 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 GrahamTrump, Europe increasingly at odds on Iran Trump: Anonymous news sources are 'bulls---' Trump: 'Good chance' Dems give immigration 'win' after Pelosi called White House plan 'dead on arrival' 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 CapitoCongressional Women's Softball team releases roster Sinema, Gallagher fastest lawmakers in charity race Kushner, Miller talk immigration at Senate GOP lunch 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 CottonGOP senator: Supreme Court abortion cases were 'wrongly decided as a constitutional matter' Senate confirms controversial 9th Circuit pick without blue slips Cotton: US could win war with Iran in 'two strikes' 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.
 
Asked how Democrats could be brought on board, Sen. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerBolton emerges as flashpoint in GOP debate on Iran Trump's immigration push faces Capitol Hill buzzsaw Lawmakers introduce legislation to improve cyber workforce funding MORE (R-N.D.), who was also present in the meeting at the White House, said the first step was getting Senate Republicans to support it but that he thought the caucus was receptive. 
 
"There was a lot of encouragement in the room today for the work they've done," he said. "A lot of encouragement."