Congress unlikely to include a pathway to citizenship in its border deal

WASHINGTON — Pathways to citizenship for young immigrants protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program are unlikely to be included in a border deal lawmakers are trying to hash out in the final weeks of the year.

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., who is involved with the negotiations, told reporters Monday night that new pathways to citizenship won’t be a part of any final agreement.

“I think I’ve developed a reputation as being a fairly reasonable, compromise-oriented person. You come to me and tell me we had to have DACA and path to citizenship in this bill, it would be the last discussion you have with me [on] border security,” Tillis said. “This is not the time or the place nor the policy construct for it to work.”

Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, a top Democratic negotiator in the talks, said that while DACA is a priority that Democrats would want in the deal, it doesn’t align with what Republicans want the final bill to look like.

“I think it’s been clear from the beginning that, you know, Republicans are going to get some things that they want, there will be some areas that we have mutual agreement, and there’ll be some things that the Democrats want,” Murphy told reporters.

Congressional leaders are aiming to pass legislation before Christmas that includes supplemental aid to Israel, Ukraine and the Indo-Pacific, multiple people involved in discussions said this month. Republicans are demanding tougher border security measures and stricter asylum laws in exchange for the additional Ukraine aid sought by the Biden administration.

Negotiators in Congress have been working to design an immigration package that balances bolstered resources for border security while toughening asylum policies in a way that’s acceptable to conservatives without alienating progressive Democrats.

According to Tillis, “really good progress” has been made on most fronts, including asylum, but parole is a major sticking point.

Language on parole needs to be in the legislation, said Tillis, who has threatened he won’t vote for supplemental funding for Ukraine or Israel without concessions from Democrats.

“Absent that, people like me are not going to support the supplemental in spite of the fact that I support Israel and Ukraine funding,” Tillis said. “If it doesn’t have border security, and it doesn’t, it doesn’t have my vote. And it doesn’t have a majority of Republicans.”

Murphy and Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., who Tillis indicated had taken over as lead negotiators, were meeting Monday night at the Capitol for talks that they said need to wrap up this week.

“I don’t know whether we can get there. Republican demands are pretty, pretty high. But we’re trying,” Murphy told NBC News.

Kate Santaliz and Frank Thorp V reported from Washington and Zoë Richards from New York.

Kate Santaliz

Kate Santaliz is a researcher for NBC News’ Capitol Hill team.

Frank Thorp V

Frank Thorp V is a producer and off-air reporter covering Congress for NBC News, managing coverage of the Senate.

Zoë Richards

Zoë Richards is the evening politics reporter for NBC News.

Read More

By admin

Leave a Reply