WATCH: GOP senators say they’re getting closer on bipartisan DACA fix
Key GOP senators tell The Hill that a bipartisan Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) compromise is “very close,” but both sides must convince their respective colleagues to back a narrowly focused deal.
Arizona GOP Sen. Jeff Flake said that “the small group that’s been meeting — myself, and [Sens.] Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Mike Bennet (D-Colo.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — we’re very close,” to striking a deal to take care of the nearly 800,000 immigrants whose parents brought them to the U.S. illegally that were granted DACA protected status.
Flake added, “now we’ve got to sell that to more of our colleagues, but that small bipartisan group is very close.”
Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) was also optimistic.
“I think there’s a compromise that can be worked out that includes interior enforcement, includes border security and the legalization of those kids,” he told The Hill.
Veteran Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who is “privy” to the talks, called them “serious negotiations” and a chance for true bipartisanship in the next Congress.
“I’m hoping that we are going to try to work together for the first time this Congress in a bipartisan way; if we can, then this might be the way to do it,” Shelby told The Hill, referring to a deal on DACA.
Flake — a member of the Judiciary Committee who opted not to run for reelection this year — said he looks forward to a Tuesday meeting with bipartisan lawmakers at the White House. He did not attend a GOP-only planning meeting there on Thursday because of its exclusivity, he said.
“We are out of time,” he told The Hill. Republicans need to quit fooling themselves “that we can get this thing done ourselves … we can’t.”
Any DACA fix will need at least 60 votes to pass in the Senate. Republicans now hold just a 51-49 majority in that chamber.
Several bipartisan groups of lawmakers have scrambled to beat President Trump’s March deadline to come up with a legislative DACA fix. Many of them indicate that a deal would include some border security — but, Flake warns that a deal will be narrowly focused on helping the nearly 800,000 immigrants who are now at risk of losing their protected status.
Matters such as so-called chain migration would only be part of a deal “as it relates to the parents of DACA kids — they shouldn’t be able to sponsor their parents, who brought them across illegally — but dealing with, you know, chain migration for the broader population, isn’t going to happen in this bill … We’re not going to be able to do things like sanctuary cities, or you know, other broader issues; that’s step two,” Flake said.
Watch the video above to hear the senators in their own words.
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