Democratic Rep. Don Beyer (Va.) said Monday that he would support key aspects of President Donald Trump's immigration policy proposal, including funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and changes to the diversity visa lottery program.
CNN host John Berman asked Beyer if he "could accept some funding" for a border wall, one of Trump's major campaign promises.
"Yes, I think so," Beyer responded.
"Twenty billion?" Berman followed up, referring to the potential cost of the wall. The Trump administration has asked Congress for about $18 billion in funding over the next decade to build the wall.
"I don't know what the number is, but I think Democrats are willing to compromise," Beyer said. "They just don't want to see something that is so wholeheartedly punitive on the immigration policy we've had the last 50 years."
Berman then asked Beyer if he supports changes to the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, which "makes up to 50,000 immigrant visas available annually, drawn from random selection among all entries to individuals who are from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States."
Trump has called for ending the program as part of his immigration plan.
Beyer said that he wants to see changes to the program but does not want it eliminated.
"Changes, yes. Elimination, no," Beyer said. "If you totally eliminate the diversity lottery, then people from the less affluent countries, especially I think sub-Saharan Africa, are never going to have a chance to come to the United States."
The Senate is set to debate immigration reform on Monday, setting the stage for Congress to come up with a plan for Dreamers, immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which provides legal protections to Dreamers, is set to expire on March 5, unless lawmakers agree on alternative legislation.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said last week at a news conference that the goal is to vote on a range of immigration proposals.
"Whoever gets to 60 wins," McConnell said. "There's no secret plan here to try to push this in any direction. The Senate is going to work its will, and I hope that we will end up passing something."
Trump announced the four pillars of his immigration plan at his State of the Union address last month. The pillars include a "path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants" brought to the U.S. as children; building a wall on the southern border, among other border security measures; ending the visa lottery program in favor of a merit-based immigration system; and ending chain migration, which allows immigrants with citizenship to petition to bring relatives to the country.