The two senators who struck a deal with each other on an immigration deal signaled Friday they’ll push ahead with their bargain despite opposition from President Trump, saying they sense growing bipartisan support.
The comments by Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican, came a day after they were in a meeting where the president reportedly used a disparaging expletive to refer to some developing countries such as Haiti and El Salvador.
Mr. Durbin appeared to confirm Mr. Trump used the word “s–hole” to refer to the countries, while Mr. Graham did not specifically confirm that account, though he did indicate the president’s words deserved pushback. Mr. Trump has denied he used the terminology Mr. Durbin accuses him of.
Mr. Graham, in a statement Friday, said he “said my piece directly” to the president on Thursday, and is now turning back to the deal itself.
“The American people will ultimately judge us on the outcome we achieve, not the process which led to it,” he said.
“I know the bipartisan proposal discussed at the White House can get a lot of support from both sides. As always, I look forward to considering additional ideas that could make the proposal even better,” Mr. Graham said.
Mr. Durbin, meanwhile, described the deal he and Mr. Graham reached as “a genuine compromise.”
“It addresses all the areas outlined by the president and represents honest concessions on both sides. That is the nature of compromise, and the president and others trying to derail a bipartisan deal do not have an alternative that can earn bipartisan support,” Mr. Durbin said.
The deal they presented to Mr. Trump would include a generous pathway to citizenship for perhaps millions of illegal immigrants, while giving him funding for about 10 percent of his border wall and — at best — a slim cut of about 3 percent in the chain of family migration.
The plan would also eliminate the Diversity Visa Lottery, as Mr. Trump called for, but would use those visas to create a new pathway to citizenship for people from El Salvador, Haiti and other countries currently protected in the U.S. under special humanitarian status. That additional pathway to citizenship — which had not been part of the president’s plans — appears to have been what ignited Mr. Trump’s stark comments on developing countries.
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