Congress is scrambling to find common-ground on immigration policy, with the issue representing a sticking point in budget negotiations.
Democrats have indicated that a failure to address the issue will result in a lack of Democratic support for any proposed budget measure.
The disagreement has represented a consistent point of disagreement for Republicans and Democrats, with Democrats insisting Republicans take steps to address the roughly 800,000 immigrants affected by President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind the Obama Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
With only nine days remaining before the government’s funding runs out – a prospect that would mean a government shutdown, in the event Congress fails to pass another funding measure – the debate is a weighty and time-sensitive one.
The debate in recent months has been further complicated by President Trump’s insistence that his proposed border wall – an important component of his campaign platform – receive funding from Congress. However, in recent weeks, some signs have pointed to a willingness to consider alternative plans, including a scheduled (and subsequently canceled) White House meeting with Democrat leaders from the House and Senate, as well as White House aide Kellyanne Conway’s statement this week that President Trump recently “discovered” that a border-spanning physical wall might not be an ideal or practical solution
"There are rivers involved, I'm told. There are mountains involved — there's terrain that isn't conducive to building an actual physical structure in some places," Conway told CNN.
As of this writing, a bipartisan group of Senators announced they had struck a deal on a DACA fix, but it remains unclear whether the group – led by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) – will have its ideas taken up by the broader parties of its constituent members.
Even though senior leaders know they need to keep their skills sharp through continued development opportunities, finding the time, let alone the budget, for training and development is a constant challenge.