December 18, 2017 / 11:02 PM / 10 months ago

'Dreamer' immigration bill not on U.S. Senate agenda this month

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate will not consider an immigration bill as part of year-end legislation but will turn to a measure protecting immigrant youths known as “Dreamers” in January, No. 2 Senate Republican John Cornyn said on Monday.

'Dreamers' hug as they meet with relatives during the 'Keep Our Dream Alive' binational meeting at a new section of the border wall on the U.S.-Mexico border in Sunland Park, U.S., opposite the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, December 10, 2017. Picture taken from the U.S side of the U.S.-Mexico border. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

Speaking to reporters, Cornyn also said that if Congress cannot meet an early March deadline for passing legislation providing the protections against deportation, President Donald Trump could extend that deadline if he chose to do so.

In interviews over the past several days, both Republican and Democratic lawmakers and aides said that talks on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals have been quietly making progress.

“The president has given us enough time to deal with this before March and so I think that’s plenty of time and I expect us to meet it,” Cornyn told reporters, adding, “If we can’t, then the president could extend the deadline if he chose to do so. But this is something we’re going to turn to, I’m sure, in January.”

Tensions between Republicans and Democrats over the issue of legislative protections for undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as children increased this fall after Trump took a hard line on the conditions for a deal.

FILE PHOTO: Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) speaks during Senate Intelligence Committee hearing to answer questions related to Russian use of social media to influence U.S. elections, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 1, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

Reporting By Richard Cowan and Susan Cornwell; Editing by Tom Brown

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