Earlier in the week, several conservative senators demanded that the White House and Congress act faster to effect comprehensive and much-needed immigration reform.
“The sweet spot for getting an immigration deal remains now. The closer we get to the election and certainly post-election, the more difficult it will be,” said Cory Gardner (R-CO), leader of the GOP’s campaign branch. “If we wait longer, the more difficult it becomes. They’ll blame it on both parties at that point.”
Senators in both parties, reports Politico.com, are preparing to resume immigration talks in case the House or Oval Office kick the issue back into their court. Nevertheless, some apprehension remains—not to mention skepticism.
The Senate, after all, failed to put forward any viable immigration bill in February. Despite a multitude going up for votes, none—not liberal plans or President Trump’s handpicked favorite—garnered enough support to leave the chamber intact.
But the House, writes POLITICO, ‘has become a hotbed of immigration debate,’ preparing to review a handful of Republican-written bills in June. However, senators aren’t liable to support any of the endeavors primed to face the floor in the coming month.
‘Their opposition,’ claims POLITICO, extends from a conservative bill written by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) to a more moderate one pushed by centrist House Republicans.’
And another problem remains—President Trump.
The commander-in-chief has demanded immigration reform since his inauguration. Although he decided early on in 2017 to protect the beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program from deportation, he reneged on his promise in September. Five days into the month, Trump rescinded the Obama-era program and placed the onus to bring change on Congress.
After President Trump’s preferred piece of legislation failed to muster enough votes to leave the Senate, the chief executive has resisted efforts to codify or reinstate DACA.
While that hasn’t stopped Democrats and some Republicans from trying to find a fix, senators aren’t sure whether they’re equipped to jump back into the immigration debate.
“Either the House sends or something or the court sends us something and suddenly we have to do something,” said Sen. James Lankford (R-OK). “I don’t want to be standing there saying we’ve been doing nothing for months.”
A liberal lawmaker shared another fear with POLITICO—that the Senate could be at a loss if Dreamers begin coming due for deportation en masse.
“That pressure could ramp back up tomorrow if we’re in a position where we see active deportations of Dreamers on a large scale,” said Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico. “There are many Republican senators who realize that that is not a place they should ever want us to be.”