Washington (CNN) The White House is quietly feeling the waters on trying for another push
on immigration legislation as President Donald Trump continues to up the
rhetoric on the issue.
Trump focused on border security and immigration last week, tweeting repeatedly
about the need for congressional action and ordering the deployment of
the National Guard to the border.
But sources say the there's more than just tweets, that the White House
has been quietly reaching out to allies on the Hill to explore what might
be doable. Still, that outreach has to date not included any Democrats
and has been unfocused, leaving it unlikely the effort could muster the
votes it would need to pass.
"I think there is a real attempt to figure something out -- I don't
think they actually know what they want -- but there's a legitimate
want to do something on this," said one senior GOP aide of the White
House's outreach efforts.
The aide characterized the outreach more as floating ideas than coming
up with a game plan, and noted that the White House doesn't seem to
be building a coalition to pass the bill yet. Another GOP source agreed
any talks are more exploratory than organized.
"It is frustrating that things are so unclear and it would be better
to have a coalition that the White House is part of in these conversations,
to be a little bit more specific," the aide said.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican who has worked on unsuccessful
bipartisan efforts to save the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
policy Trump ended, said on Fox News on Monday that there could be another
"The President wants to do a DACA deal -- border wall money plus other
border security measures are very much on the table," Graham said.
"Our southern border is porous. It needs to be rebuilt strongly and
the DACA kids need to have certainty their lives. I hope this President
can find Democrats to work with him."
Last week, a senior White House official told reporters in a conference
call that the White House
intended to make a legislative push, which sounded much like what the White House tried unsuccessfully to
advance going back to last October.
"We are going to be sending Congress a legislative package to close
these loopholes so we can return these illegal immigrants in a responsible
and expeditious manner," the official said on condition of anonymity,
saying one strategy may be to call narrow, individual bills to force Democrats
to take a tough vote opposing them.
"I would expect that in the spring/summer the issue of border security
is probably going to be one of the biggest issues on Congress' plate,"
the official said.
The GOP leadership offices on both sides of the Capitol had no comment
on any planned immigration push -- the next focus in the House is passing
a balanced budget amendment and the Senate has been working on nominations.
A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said there were
no schedule announcements beyond the nominations for this week and noted
that the chamber has already voted down legislation on sanctuary cities
during the DACA fight in February.
Democrats, meanwhile, say there has been no fresh outreach to them after
talks about attaching something to the government spending package stale mated.
"Oh hell no," one Democratic member of Congress said when asked
if there had been any fresh White House outreach.
A senior Democratic Senate aide poured cold water on the notion a deal
could be reached. Citing
repeated rejections of Democratic and bipartisan deal offerings leading up to the failed effort
in February and stalled talks on the spending bill, the aide doubted any
White House and Republican-only driven effort could pass muster.
A group of bipartisan lawmakers proposed a deal that would have offered
eligible young immigrants a pathway to citizenship in exchange for $25
billion for Trump's border wall and some restrictions on family-based
migration, including on the eventual beneficiaries of the program. After
an aggressive attack against the bill, it fell six votes short of advancing.
There are some indicators as to what the White House could get through
Congress -- or couldn't. A proposal closely tracking the full White
House wishlist from October has failed to lock enough Republican support
to be called for a vote in the House, and the administration proposed
a somewhat scaled-down version of its wish list in a framework for a deal
to preserve DACA in February that failed to get even 40 votes in the 100-member Senate.
The House has passed a handful of measures already that have languished
or failed in the Senate, including a sanctuary cities bill that fell six
votes short of advancing in February. It has also failed to pass "Kate's
Law," a bill that would increasingly penalize repeat criminal border-crossers,
in past Congresses.
CNN's Ted Barrett contributed to this report.
REVILLA LAW FIRM, P.A.
Miami immigration attorneys and deportation defense firm
Our immigration law firm can represent clients in all areas of immigration
law anywhere in the United States. We have the experience and knowledge
to help guide you through the immigration process during a confidential
We offer a free in-office consultation in our Miami office. You can also
schedule a telephone consultation for a small fee.
Our immigration attorneys will fight to keep you in the United States.
Call today: (305) 858-2323 or toll free (877) 854-2323