Democrats have rejected an offer from Senate Republicans to pair border security legislation with an immigration fix that excluded a path to citizenship.
“Sen. [Chuck] Grassley and a working group had made an offer to Sen. [Dick] Durbin which he refuses to respond to. The way that Sen. Grassley described it is an impasse,” Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), the No. 2 Senate Republican, said on Thursday.
Cornyn is a member of the group of Republicans convened by Grassley to negotiate a deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era program being nixed by the Trump administration.
Now that the GOP offer has been rejected, Cornyn said Republicans are “looking at other ways forward.”
“I think you’ll be hearing more on that topic maybe as early as next week,” he said.
A spokesman for Grassley didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The border security component of the GOP offer was Cornyn’s legislation, though it excluded some of the more controversial provisions including targeting cities that don’t comply with federal immigration law.
The offer also did not include a path to citizenship for DACA recipients, considered a red-line for Democrats.
Durbin, who has taken the lead on negotiating for Senate Democrats, told Politico that he was still trying to negotiate with Republicans.
“It was a 460-page border security bill by Sen. Cornyn,” Durbin told the publication. “I told him that is just not gonna happen. It didn’t even accept the Dream Act.”
A spokesman for Durbin confirmed his comments.
The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, or Dream Act, would provide immigrants brought into the country illegally as children with a path to citizenship.
Pressed on the Democratic demand of the Dream Act, Cornyn added “well I think they wanted a fix for DACA. DACA wasn’t a pathway to citizenship.”
“Well I’m not going to negotiate with myself, we’re interested in what they’re willing to offer us on our priorities,” he said, asked if citizenship was a red line for Republicans.
DACA, unlike the Dream Act, would allow the immigrants to work and go to school in the United States without the fear of deportation but did not include a citizenship path.