Durbin makes offer to GOP on asylum reform

Durbin makes offer to GOP on asylum reform
© Stefani Reynolds

Senate Democratic Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinHillicon Valley: Zuckerberg would support delaying Libra | More attorneys general join Facebook probe | Defense chief recuses from 'war cloud' contract | Senate GOP blocks two election security bills | FTC brings case against 'stalking' app developer Senate Republicans block two election security bills Democrats dig in ahead of Supreme Court ruling on 'Dreamers' MORE (Ill.), a top voice on immigration on Capitol Hill, has made an offer to Senate Judiciary Committee Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham to introduce resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry Overnight Defense: Trump's Syria envoy wasn't consulted on withdrawal | McConnell offers resolution urging Trump to rethink Syria | Diplomat says Ukraine aid was tied to political investigations Partisan squabbles endanger congressional response to Trump's course on Syria MORE (R-S.C.) and White House adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerMnuchin to attend Saudi economic forum one year after Khashoggi death Career State official warned about Biden's son: report Buttigieg knocks Trump as a 'walking conflict of interest' MORE on solving the migrant crisis on the southern border.

Durbin, in a meeting with Graham and Kushner, laid out five immigration reforms he says Democrats can accept, such as requiring Central American migrants to apply for asylum from their home counties or Mexico and providing more money for immigration judges at the border.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I’m working with Sen. Graham about some of the policy questions,” the No. 2 Senate Democrat said. “I think I’ve identified to him five or six things I believe Democrats in the Senate and the House will support. And I begged him, ‘Take it. Move forward with it. Do it on a bipartisan basis.’ I think it will have positive impact.”

He confirmed that giving migrants the ability to apply for asylum from their home countries or Mexico and providing for more immigration judges are two areas of common ground.

“But, to make it clear, we’re not giving up on the protections Flores, TVPRA or changing the definition of asylum,” Durbin said, making reference to the 1997 Flores Settlement, which limits law enforcement from detaining migrant minors for more than 20 days, and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act.

The TVPRA requires that unaccompanied minors detained by Customs and Border Protection be transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services within 72 hours.

Durbin said these reforms were among the immigration-related topics he discussed with Graham and Kushner on Tuesday.

Graham on Tuesday expressed hope that asylum reform provisions could be added to a $4.5 billion border supplemental spending bill expected to move through the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Senate floor this week and next.

Durbin, however, said any changes to immigration policy will likely have to move separately.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbySenators have chance to double funding for women entrepreneurs—they should take it On The Money: Trump dismisses 'phony Emoluments Clause' after Doral criticism | Senate Dems signal support for domestic spending package | House panel to consider vaping tax Senate Dems signal they'll support domestic spending package MORE (R-Ala.) on Tuesday said his preference is to keep the $4.5 billion supplemental spending bill clean of policy changes.

“McConnell has said, ‘we want to keep it clean, we want to stay with the humanitarian [money],’ ” Shelby said. “We don’t want to load it up.”