The senator did not reject a pathway for dreamers outright, but said it should be addressed as part of a larger immigration package.
“I think the dreamers have a sympathetic case,” McConnell said. “There are circumstances under which I and others would be happy to support that. But we need to do more than that. You know there’s some genuine fixes on the legal immigration side and on the illegal immigration side that need to be addressed.”
On Tuesday, the Democrat-led House passed a bill to give dreamers 10 years of legal residence status if they meet certain requirements. They would then receive permanent green cards after completing at least two years of higher education or military service, or after working for three years.
The bill was approved by all Democrats and a handful of Republicans. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said after the vote that she hoped McConnell would see it as a bipartisan issue.
Although some Republicans have supported a path to citizenship for dreamers, it has been used by the Trump administration mostly as a bargaining chip in the president’s quest for funding to build his border wall.
Several similar proposals have been rejected by Congress and the White House since Trump took office. The Trump administration also moved to end the Obama-era program known as DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, that protected dreamers from being deported.
Felicia Sonmez contributed to this report.
Correction: A previous version of this article said that Mitch McConnell made his remarks on Fox News. He was speaking on Fox News Radio.