Soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says immigration reform will be a low priority next year in the wake of President Obama’s executive action on immigration.
Speaking to Roll Call, McConnell said that while the current immigration system is “broken,” Obama’s recent executive actions — including offering legal status and work permits to nearly 5 million illegal immigrants — makes the prospect of moving quickly on reform next Congress far-fetched.
“Well I can tell you for sure that what the president did after the election makes it unlikely that it is an early item for this conference. But no one believes the current immigration system is not broken,” McConnell told Roll Call. “At some point, I believe it would be appropriate to do something to secure the border and maybe to address other parts of the legal immigration system as well.”
According to McConnell, although there are issues with the system that need to be dealt with, the Senate likely will leave them alone early on in the Republican-controlled Senate.
“The president has taken it upon himself to deal with the question of the just about 11, so-called 11 million. That’s the most challenging part of this issue,” McConnell asserted, adding:
So I think the takeaway for your purposes today is it’s in my view not an early item for consideration in the Republican Senate. But that’s not an endorsement of the status quo either. Because, I think, you know, that there is much wrong with the way things are going now on this issue and need to be corrected.