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McConnell Open to Border, Asylum Negotiations with Democrats

author Published by Admins

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) yesterday said it is “way past time” for Republicans and Democrats to negotiate a solution for the border crisis. Alluding to the recent DHS personnel shakeup, McConnell said, “It can’t all be solved by changing personnel, some of it requires changing the law. That means we have to deal with the Democrats. They’re in the majority in the House.”

Meeting with reporters McConnell said, “I think it’s way past time on both sides, that we sit down together and see what we can agree to, to improve the situation. Not only border security, but also the asylum laws that are very challenging when you are confronted with this onslaught of people.”

Asked if he would be open to discussions on “comprehensive immigration reform” McConnell said, “I’m willing to enter into a negotiation to see what we can do to fix the problems.”  

The overture for a deal comes amid the departure of DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and acting Deputy Secretary Claire Grady. Ron Vitiello, the Acting Director Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), resigned as well after President Trump withdrew his Senate nomination. The president named Kevin McAleenan, the head of the Border Patrol, to take over as Acting Secretary.

McAleenan and Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney met Tuesday with a group of Senate Democrats – Dick Durbin (Ill.), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.) and Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) – to discuss the asylum-driven border crisis.

Senior Senate Republicans, including Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), have already been pushing for changes in asylum law. Graham this week said he had asked the White House to propose detailed asylum changes by last week but officials did not follow through.

Read more in The Hill.

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