Both top Republicans lawmakers issued lukewarm statements following the rollout of President Trump’s new merit-heavy immigration plan, signaling the party isn’t willing to go to task for a immigration bill that hasn’t been written yet and Democrats are describing as “dead on arrival.”
While both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) offered vague support of the plan in statements, the backing was underwhelming.
“We are a nation of immigrants and we must preserve that rich part of who we are,” McConnell said in a statement, alluding to the plan’s focus on approving work visas for immigrants based on merit over family ties. “But we are a nation of laws. … I look forward to reviewing the president’s proposal.”
Earlier in the day McCarthy told reporters that the president’s plan isn’t a “complete immigration bill,” but rather a “base” from which to move forward.
“It’s something we can work from,” he said, according to the Washington Post.
In private, White House aides reportedly think the president’s speech in the Rose Garden on Thursday to announce the plan was a waste of time because they don’t think the proposal will pass in Congress, according to the Post. Democrats described the plan, which favors high-skilled workers in the immigration process, as “condescending” and are displeased that there’s no plan for “dreamers.”
Conservatives believe the proposal doesn’t go far enough to slash legal immigration.
Earlier this week, when White House senior adviser Jared Kushner presented the plan to lawmakers, Republicans were reportedly unimpressed, according to the Post. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) was reportedly displeased the proposal didn’t include a plan for “dreamers,” or recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) had reservations about the lack of a plan for the 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the United States.