McConnell Says It’s ‘Past Time’ To Reach Immigration Deal With Democrats

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he’s prepared to sit down and work with Democrats on a bipartisan immigration compromise.

“I think it’s way past time for us to have an adult bipartisan discussion about our immigration laws and see what we can agree to,” McConnell said to reporters Thursday, arguing that a solution can’t be reached without passing legislation. “I’m willing to enter into a negotiation to see what we can do to fix the problems.”

The senior senator from Kentucky also took a shot at the Trump administration’s recent shakeup of immigration staff, saying reform “can’t all be solved by changing personnel.” Changes to immigration law, he stressed, won’t happen when numerous leaders of government agencies are constantly coming and going.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made analogous comments on the very same day, telling the media Thursday that she remained “optimistic” about reaching an immigration deal with President Donald Trump.

“I’m always optimistic,” Pelosi said at the Democrats’ 2019 Issues Conference in Virginia. “And this has to happen. It’s inevitable. Again, it’s inevitable to some, inconceivable to others. We have to shorten the distance between the inevitable and the inconceivable.”

Talk of a comprehensive immigration deal comes as the two parties appear to be straying further apart on the issue.

The country recently endured the longest government shutdown in its history when the White House and congressional Democrats were deadlocked over funding for Trump’s proposed wall. The two camps continue to battle over the administration’s attempts to change asylum procedures and toughen other immigration enforcement measures.

The administration is preparing to initiate a series of executive orders that would make it harder for low-skilled foreigners to enter the country and make it harder for migrants to claim asylum. The administration also wants the ability to detain migrants children for a longer amount of time — all proposals that Democrats oppose.

It’s not clear where the GOP and Democrats would find common ground. As recently as Wednesday, Pelosi called Trump’s immigration policies “contrary to the values of our country.” Later that day, Trump took to Twitter and said that what Democrats were doing on the border amounted to treason.

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