WASHINGTON — Outlines of a possible compromise that would more quickly deport minors arriving from Central America emerged Thursday as part of President Barack Obama's $3.7 billion emergency request to address the immigration crisis on the nation's southern border.
Republicans demanded speedier deportations, which the White House initially supported but left out of its proposal after complaints from immigrant advocates and some Democrats. On Thursday, the top House and Senate Democrats pointedly left the door open to them.
"It's not a deal breaker," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. "Let them have their face-saver. But let us have the resources to do what we have to do." Her spokesman Drew Hammill later clarified that any changes "must ensure due process for these children."
In the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said: "I'm not going to block anything. Let's see what comes to the floor."
But opposition arose late in the day from key Democratic senators, suggesting there could be battles before any deal is struck.
Reid and Pelosi made their comments as House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., both said they don't want to give Obama a "blank check" to deal with the crisis of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children arriving at the Texas border, many fleeing gangs and drawn by rumors they would be able to stay in the United States. Boehner and McConnell indicated policy changes would be necessary to win their support.