Graham and Kushner met to discuss immigration differences: report

Graham and Kushner met to discuss immigration differences: report
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Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenators spar over validity of Trump impeachment trial Trump selects South Carolina lawyer for impeachment trial Democrats formally elect Harrison as new DNC chair MORE (R-S.C.) and White House adviser Jared Kushner met on Capitol Hill Thursday to discuss immigration, CNN reported.

The White House and Graham are at odds over recent immigration legislation.

Earlier Thursday, alongside Democratic Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinBiden officials hold call with bipartisan group of senators on coronavirus relief plan Harry Reid 'not particularly optimistic' Biden will push to eliminate filibuster Durbin: Senate should consider changes to filibuster MORE (Ill.), Graham unveiled a new version of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, an immigration bill that would protect undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children.


The DREAM Act would effectively enact in law the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which is based on an executive order. Under DACA, around 750,000 immigrants have received a work permit and protection from deportation.

Graham and Durbin announced their plan for a renewed DREAM Act Wednesday — the original version of the bill was presented in 2001 by Durbin — and the White House almost immediately shot down the proposal.

"The administration has opposed the Dream Act and we are likely to be consistent in that," White House legislative affairs director Marc Short said at an off-camera briefing Wednesday.

A White House official speaking on background added that President Trump's priority, based on his campaign promises, is an enforcement-first immigration strategy.

But at the bill's presentation Thursday, Durbin said he and Graham are in constant communication with White House officials on their plans for immigration legislation.

"Sen. Graham and I have been actively engaged with the White House for weeks, if not months, in conversation about DACA, the [Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy] Act and the DREAM Act," said Durbin. "We believe there are people within that White House who want to continue that dialogue and conversation, and we are going to work with them."

Graham's meeting with Kushner happened shortly after that press conference, according to reports.

And Graham extended his appeal in favor of the DREAM Act to administration officials beyond Kushner.

"I think [Secretary of Homeland Security] John Kelly is the guy we should go to and say, 'Come up with a border security plan that you believe will protect our nation from illegal crossings and also do something about the 40 percent of illegal immigrants who've overstayed their visa,' " said Graham.

Graham added that Kelly, who has on multiple occasions expressed support for the immigrants covered under DACA, could be the key to widespread political support for the DREAM Act.

But Kelly stuck to the official White House position.

"The White House has issued the administration’s position on the bill. The president has indicated he will not sign it and the secretary supports the president's position," said David Lapan, Kelly's spokesman.