Following months of uneasy negotiations, senators from both major US political parties have identified a new timeline for a comprehensive immigration deal: the festive season.
As the Republican-controlled Senate overwhelmingly rejected a White House-backed bipartisan border security compromise on Monday, some of the most conservative senators cautioned against more of the same.
Speaking to the press, Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) said “the best option for us is to figure this out before the holidays and get something done before the end of the year”.
His comments were echoed by Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois). Durbin told reporters “we are making progress and I believe we can keep the necessary congressional process going until the end of the year if needed.”
The proposed tax bill, including language to protect ‘Dreamers’ and border-security measures, faces stiff resistance from the most conservative party arm: the Freedom Caucus. Depending on the outcome of negotiations, these entanglements could greatly impact the fate of the 2018 immigration reform bill.
Analysts have noted that, despite the holiday season bears down, lawmakers may be motivated to tackle the thorny subject. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) said “this might be one of the most politically risky issues for both Republicans and Democrats.”
With the looming deadline of March 5 when Obama-era regulations protecting Dreamers expiration, it appears that the dynamics of the already difficult conversation will remain the same. The political environment will be as tense and unpredictable around the holidays as it is now.