- The Washington Times
Sunday, January 28, 2018

Sen. Joe Manchin said Sunday that President Trump’s recent immigration proposal is a “good starting point” and that he plans to meet soon with senators from both parties to see how much of it can pass.

“The president’s laid out what he wants. That’s a good starting point. Let’s see if it’s something that we can agree on, something we need to adjust and something we can negotiate with,” the West Virginia Democrat said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“The president has laid out a template. We’re going to look at that template and we’re going to work with it,” said Mr. Manchin, who is seeking re-election in a state in which Mr. Trump won every county.

Mr. Manchin said there was more than $40 billion to secure the United States’ southern border in the 2013 immigration bill passed by the Senate. That bill also provided an eventual pathway to citizenship for some 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S.

“Now, if you want to go big, that’s big,” he said. “You can’t have big on one end of it and then also medium or small on the other end. I think that’s what we’re trying to figure out.”

He said a bipartisan “common sense coalition” in the Senate would be a good measure of what can ultimately pass, and that the group plans to meet Monday night to discuss things.

The president plans to submit an immigration plan to Congress this week that will provide a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrant “Dreamers,” impose strict limits on family-based migration, and beef up border security, including a $25 billion trust fund for a U.S.-Mexico border wall and other infrastructure.

Other Democrats have been more critical of the framework, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who said it’s part of the Trump administration’s plan to “make America white again.”

“We don’t need that type of rhetoric on either side - from Nancy, Paul Ryan or anybody else,” Mr. Manchin said.

“I’m condemning all this crazy rhetoric that goes on,” he said. “We have to work together.”

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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