Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, promises a “free and open debate” on immigration if Democrats will vote to reopen the government.
Democrats struggle with a president who says he wants to compromise but then is reined in by his own staff, while Republican leaders are loath to guess at his intentions.
After decades of fruitless efforts to overhaul immigration and under withering attack by President Trump and others, Democrats simply do believe Republicans will follow through on the issue.
Agents were given little notice and conflicting guidance on how to enforce President Trump’s first travel ban last year, leading to chaos at airports.
President Trump’s third attempt to impose restrictions on travel from predominantly Muslim nations will face a test in the Supreme Court this spring.
In an interview, Senator Richard J. Durbin says President Trump’s private immigration comments shed new light on his policy motivations.