Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed Wednesday that he’s unlikely to bring up the House-passed bill to provide a path to citizenship for immigrants brought to the United States as children, known as “dreamers.”
McConnell said “probably not” when asked during an interview on Fox News whether he’d bring up the House bill for a vote in the Senate.
The Kentucky Republican did not reject a pathway for dreamers outright, but said it should be addressed as part of a larger immigration package.
“I think the dreamers have a sympathetic case,” McConnell said. “There are circumstances under which I and others would be happy to support that. But we need to do more than that. You know there’s some genuine fixes on the legal immigration side and on the illegal immigration side that need to be addressed.”
On Tuesday, the Democrat-led House passed a bill to give dreamers 10 years of legal residence status if they meet certain requirements. They would then receive permanent green cards after completing at least two years of higher education or military service, or after working for three years.
The bill was approved by all Democrats and a handful of Republicans, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said after the vote she hoped McConnell would see it as a bipartisan issue.
While some Republicans have supported a path for citizenship for dreamers, it’s been used by the Trump administration mostly as a bargaining chip in his quest for funding to build his border wall.
Several such proposals have been rejected by Congress and the White House since Trump became president and ended the Obama-era program known as DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, that protected dreamers from being deported.
Washington Post writer Felicia Sonmez contributed to this report.