Moderate: Tentative immigration deal with conservatives

Moderate: Tentative immigration deal with conservatives

Moderate: Tentative immigration deal with conservatives

Reporters pursue Marc Short, the White House legislative liaison, as House Republicans try to bridge their party's internal struggle over immigration at a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday.

If leaders fail to find a solution, that would give momentum to moderates seeking to stage election-year votes in just three weeks on the issue, a showdown that leaders want to head off.

A leader of House Republican moderates said Thursday that a tentative deal with conservatives was being discussed to help young "Dreamer" immigrants stay in the USA legally.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Thursday that immigration wasn't on the agenda for the remainder of the year, after the Senate voted on multiple immigration proposals ― including one supported by Trump ― in February, and none garnered enough votes to pass. Highlighting the tenuous state of the talks, moderates said Thursday they had reached an accord with conservatives on a key sticking point, while conservative leaders denied any such deal was in place. "If there was one option that could get both sides together right now we wouldn't be having this meeting today", said Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., a moderate. By 45 percent to 21 percent, voters say they'd be less likely to back a congressional candidate who would support Pelosi as speaker.

"There's no agreement right now", said Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., the GOP Whip, as he exited the meeting.

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Republicans acknowledge that conservatives and moderates could keep working on a compromise past Tuesday even if there are 218 signatures on the discharge petition. Ryan is hoping an accord would derail threats by the GOP centrists to force a series of votes on immigration this month that leaders say would be divisive and damage the party's electoral prospects in November.

"If there's going to be a normalization of people who came here illegally at some point, and we don't handle all those other things, we're just going to have more people coming here illegally", Rep. Scott Perry (R., Pa.) said as he left Friday's negotiations. "Does the fact that we've forced people to the table guarantee that we will have a resolution? No".

Backers of the discharge petition argue that immediate action is necessary to protect young undocumented immigrants who came to the children, a group often referred to as Dreamers.

On the ground there, Democrats are pounding the GOP for its inaction on DACA and other immigration-related issues.

"If you're a would know you're immediately protected, meaning you would never again have to worry about deportation as long as you follow this country's laws", Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R., Fla.) said after the latest negotiating session Friday. There would be an eight-year process toward eventually getting a green card, Denham said. Asked if there was pushback on that, he said, "There was a healthy discussion but I was favorably impressed with the civility".

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Proponents told us the change will bring more "moderate" voters into the mix and lead to a more "pragmatic, problem-solving" group of elected officials.

Centrist Republicans, many of whom are in close re-election races this fall, and Democrats have been adding signatures to a discharge petition that, if supported by 218 lawmakers, would trigger votes on a variety of immigration proposals on the floor. If they get them by next Tuesday, the House would be on track to have those roll calls on June 25. Though Curbelo said Thursday that deadline could slip to July if progress is being made.

Details on the new visa system remain unclear, and lawmakers declined to disclose more as negotiations continued.

Yet, even if lawmakers manage to corral around a bill-one that appeases Democrats and moderates who want so-called Dreamers to have a path to citizenship and Republicans who are eager to reject anything that can be perceived as amnesty, at that-it will still face an uphill battle. Trump's approval rating has climbed to 44 percent, the highest it has been since the first month of his presidency and nearly identical to Barack Obama's and Ronald Reagan's scores at similar junctures in their presidencies. They also say it would antagonize conservative voters, jeopardizing GOP turnout in November elections where control of the House is at stake.

Republicans also said, however, that they are wary of a repeat of 1986, the last major amnesty, when Congress and President Reagan approved a path to citizenship for almost 3 million illegal immigrants and promised stiffer enforcement, but ended up with only the amnesty. He's also wanted to end a lottery that distributes about 50,000 visas annually to countries with few USA immigrants and to limit the relatives legal immigrants can bring to this country.

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