Even some Republicans, however, have expressed skepticism that such broad, fundamental changes in USA immigration law can pass the Senate by the Thursday deadline that No. 2 Republican Senator John Cornyn urged late on Monday.
But Senate Republican leadership said Democrats would have to act fast if they wanted to offer proposals.
After a day of speeches but no votes, the Senate will begin the third day of deliberations Wednesday with back-room negotiations and votes on immigration measures, including those to legalize so-called Dreamers before the end of a program now protecting them from deportation.
Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSasse statement: Trump nominee who spread conspiracy theories has a "tinfoil hat" Coalition of 44 groups calls for passage of drug pricing bill For the sake of our democracy, politicians must stop bickering MORE (R-Texas) was the only senator to oppose moving toward an immigration fight on the Senate floor. It would provide possible citizenship for hundreds of thousands of Dreamers, $2.7 billion for border security and some changes in legal immigration rules.
The Grassley bill essentially makes those bullet points a reality, including the proposals that would toughen immigration enforcement and limiting family-based visas only to spouses and children under 18 years old - a vastly reduced number of eligible immigrants from the current system.
The DACA program, which shields undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S.as children from deportation expires March 5.
"[Gardner's] goal is to find a solution for Dreamers so he is willing to look at other proposals to get to that goal", Contres said. "Whether they can stay in school, whether they can keep their jobs, whether they'll be separated from their families-these are as gut-wrenching as decisions in life as anyone might face, and I just don't know if we'll have 60 votes".
The U.S. Senate begins debate this week on a topic Congress has left unaddressed for decades: immigration reform. But Democrats need more than just a few Republicans to pass a proposal that win over their side.
Schumer wants McConnell to bring up legislation that incorporates Trump's priorities and a second, much narrower bill from Sens.
"In this country we've come together to do what needed to be done", Senator Mitch McConnell said. Trump wants to aim US immigrant visas at high-skilled workers and allow in fewer relatives of legal immigrants.
That framework set out four pillars that the White House wants to see addressed in any legislation: legal status for DACA recipients, more spending on border security, ending the visa program that lets immigrants in the US bring their family members over, and eliminating the diversity visa lottery. Chuck Schumer, D-Minority Leader.
"The leader wants to wrap it up", summarized Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune. Republicans held a tough line, at least for now, in the search for a bipartisan deal. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said Sunday during NBC's "Meet the Press". The House approved the legislation and President Donald Trump signed the bill Friday after the government was shut down for 5-1/2 hours.
With the fate of Dreamers in limbo, a bipartisan group of about 25 senators known as the "Common Sense Coalition" is working on compromise legislation. Trying to illegitimately attach DACA measures to budget discussions does nothing more than create a false divide between Americans, legal immigrant Americans and illegal immigrants.
He credited Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for tackling the bill with a bipartisan approach.