Amid shutdown, Senate to vote on Trump’s immigration plan next week

Washington: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Saturday said that he will take up a legislation on Trump’s immigration plan next week, in exchange for funding of the border wall that would end the nearly month-long partial government shutdown.

“I intend to move to this legislation this week. With bipartisan cooperation, the Senate can send a bill to the House quickly so that they can take action as well,” McConnell was quoted by The Hill as saying.

During the address at the White House, Trump proposed extending protections for roughly 700,000 ‘Dreamers’, the children of illegal migrants brought into the US, under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme for three years.

He floated a three-year extension of protections for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders in exchange for $5.7 billion funding for the wall.

In response, McConnell underlined that Trump’s border-immigration plan is a “compromise” that included “priorities from both sides of the aisle,” as per the report.

“This bill takes a bipartisan approach to re-opening the closed portions of the federal government. It pairs the border security investment that our nation needs with additional immigration measures that both Democrat and Republican members of Congress believe are necessary,” he added.

The Senate Majority Leader’s move to bring a bill comes days after he repeatedly obstructed House-passed bills that would have ended the shutdown. However, the bills did not include additional funding for the border wall.

Prior to the address and responding to reports on Trump’s decision to offer temporary relief to undocumented migrants residing in the US in exchange for wall funding, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the move to reopen the government was a “non-starter”.

“Democrats were hopeful that the President was finally willing to re-open the government and proceed with a much-need discussion to protect the border. Unfortunately, initial reports make clear that his proposal is a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives, each of which is unacceptable and in total, do not represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people’s lives,” Pelosi was quoted by The Hill as saying.

“It is unlikely that any one of these provisions alone would pass the House, and taken together, they are a non-starter,” she added.

The shutdown, that has now entered its 29th day, was triggered on December 22 last year by a lack of consensus between Democratic lawmakers and the US President on the $5.7 billion funding for the wall on the border with Mexico, which was one of Trump’s electoral promises.

The ongoing partial government shutdown is the longest in the history of the US.

Roughly a quarter of the government is closed and an estimated 800,000 federal workers have been adversely affected by the lapse in funding, who are either furloughed or working without any pay.