A bipartisan group of six senators say they’ve struck an “agreement in principle” on legislation to provide a path to citizenship to young undocumented immigrants while bolstering border security and making changes to the legal immigration system.
Now they have to sell it—to a wide range of colleagues in the House and Senate, and most importantly of all, to President Trump.
The senators—Republicans Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Cory Gardner of Colorado, and Jeff Flake of Arizona, along with Democrats Richard Durbin of Illinois, Michael Bennet of Colorado, and Robert Menendez of New Jersey—have been negotiating a deal in the four months since Trump said he would end Obama-era protections for around 700,000 immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally as children. The president had called on Congress to act by March 5, the date that he set for terminating his predecessor’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
But Trump’s demands for the legislation have been a moving target, and it’s unclear whether the agreement among a group of senators known for their support of undocumented immigrants can gain his support. Nor is it clear yet that the Senate deal will form the basis for a final legislative pact. Lawmakers have already offered competing proposals, and earlier this week Trump tasked a second negotiating group of two senior members from each party to meet as well. The president’s endorsement is especially critical not only because his signature is needed on any final legislation but because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he will only call up an immigration bill that has Trump’s backing.