WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of senators has reportedly reached an immigration deal designed to protect younger immigrants brought to the country illegally, an aide for Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., announced Thursday.
The news comes after months of negotiations aimed at securing legislation to extend the Obama-era protections, known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.
“Sen. Flake’s bipartisan group – the only bipartisan group that has been negotiating a DACA fix – has struck a deal,” Flake spokesman Jason Samuels said. “The next step is taking it to the White House.”
In addition to legalization for DACA recipients, the deal is also expected to include a border security package, as well as address changes to the State Department’s diversity visa lottery program and family-based immigration policies, The Hill reports.
However, a spokesperson for top Senate Democrat Dick Durbin remained mum on whether or not an agreement had been reached: “Nothing to report yet,” Durbin spokesman Ben Marter said.
Either way, it remains to be seen whether such an accord would successfully resolve the fight over extending protections to nearly 800,000 young immigrants.
GOP leaders cautioned that the bipartisan group of lawmakers must still win over the rest of Congress.
“It’s not going to be done by just a subgroup,” the Washington Times quoted Sen. John Cornyn, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate and one of the GOP’s top negotiators on the issue.
So far, The White House has declined to comment.