Critics have argued that the Republican senators have proposed an enforcement-heavy immigration bill, the Secure and Succeed Act, which mirrors Trump's immigration proposal.
That unity is about to be tested as debate begins in the Senate Monday evening on immigration - specifically what to do about the so-called "dreamers" - immigrants brought to this country illegally as children. Getting something like 67 Democrats (the number who voted for the government funding bill last week) requires Democratic support beyond the 12 members who represent districts that Trump won.
Lawmakers will duke it out to address the fate of young unauthorized immigrants known as Dreamers, border security, and, potentially, the entire U.S. immigration system.
The proposal is expected to be one of several amendments the Senate will consider this week as it debates immigration. "In the Senate, on those rare occasions when we have these kinds of open debates, whoever gets to 60 wins".
With the fate of Dreamers in limbo, a bipartisan group of about 25 senators known as the "Common Sense Coalition" is trying to forge a compromise package.
Debate has swirled around the DACA program - which provided temporary deportation protections and work authorization to almost 800,000 immigrants who came to the country as children - since President Donald Trump phased out the program to end on March 5, 2018.
Her record-setting speech - predictably lauded by the liberal media - was followed by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), who reminded his colleagues that Trump had offered an amnesty deal to Democrats during his State of the Union address.
Trump kicked the immigration fight to Congress previous year when the administration announced it was ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows certain immigrants brought into the country illegally as children to work and go to school without fear of deportation. After all, Dreamers have been trotted out as hopeful Americans with "merit" and "skill", two core elements of the Trump administration's focus to encourage lower levels of immigration. But President Trump ended the program in September and gave Congress a March 5 deadline to address their status.
Democrats and some Republicans have opposed Trump's hardline stance, especially on its restricting family-based immigration to spouses and children, and on massive funding for the border wall.
The Republicans need help to pass legislation from Democrats because they hold only a 51-49 edge and 60 votes are necessary for passage.
McConnell began Tuesday by begging Democrats to move forward with the amendment process to a shell bill now on the Senate floor.
The White House proposal offered a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million eligible immigrants, more than the 800,000 of whom registered for DACA in the five years of the program. He also seeks increased funding for border security, limits on family sponsorship for immigration to the USA and an end to the diversity visa "lottery" system. It would pave a path to citizenship for up to 1.8 million young "Dreamer" immigrants in the USA illegally, a lure for Democrats. The E-verify program will also be used to track down visa overstays, another major source of illegal immigration into our nation.
"The Republicans are in a unique position to really lead on this and really provide immigration reform that is long overdue", Yanez added.