Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is set to fulfill his promise to open debate on an immigration bill next week, but crafting a plan that can pass both chambers of Congress and appease President Donald Trump is no easy task.
As Congress ended a months-long impasse over spending levels and a brief government shutdown Friday morning, lawmakers appeared no closer to ending the bitter fight over protecting hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation. Democratic calls to shield the immigrants contributed to two partial government shutdowns this year, yet Congress still has no plan assured to get bipartisan support.
Lawmakers will dive headfirst into the politically charged battle with only weeks until the March 5 date that the Trump administration set to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. While pending lawsuits could drag out the deadline, the fate of those immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children is uncertain as Congress pushes for a deal.
Even some of the biggest proponents of shielding the so-called dreamers from deportation have expressed doubts about striking an agreement in time.
The Obama-era DACA program shields the young immigrants from deportation and allows them to work or get an education in the U.S. Those immigrants "are not a priority for deportation" if Congress fails to pass new protections, White House chief of staff John Kelly said this week.