A bipartisan group of senators are planning to roll out an immigration bill this week that includes a DACA fix and border security funding, a top Senate Democrat said Wednesday.
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., told PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff that the so-called “Gang of Six” immigration plan he’s pushing with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and others would be introduced later Wednesday or early Thursday.
The bill would extend the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, which protects young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children from deportation. The program is slated to expire in March unless Congress acts.
Durbin said the bill would also provide funding for border security, a top priority for President Donald Trump.
Durbin met with top Senate and House leaders from both parties Wednesday to discuss immigration, but said in the NewsHour interview that the group didn’t come any closer to hammering out a deal.
When asked if the group had made any sort of breakthrough, Durbin said, “Not really.”
“We’ve been attending and trying to move this along, but the difficulty is this is a contentious, complicated issue,” Durbin said.
Other highlights from the interview:
Durbin said the soon-to-be-introduced immigration plan includes some “painful concessions” on some issues to Mr. Trump’s stance. “We’ve gone completely to the president’s position on his request to Congress when it comes to the issue of what they call chain migration, and we call family unification.”
Durbin called on Congress to deal with DACA now, instead of trying to tackle a broader immigration proposal. “for goodness’ sakes, even the president acknowledged last week we have to save some of this discussion for another day. Right now, let’s take care of DACA.”
Durbin stood by his assertion that Trump used vulgar language to describe people from African countries in a White House meeting last week. A few Republicans are disputing Durbin’s account. Durbin said: “If there is a recording from that White House meeting, I urge the White House to release it. I stand by every word that I have said.”