Updated at 11:40 a.m. ET
The Senate is set to start debate Monday afternoon on immigration, launching an unusual process that could lead to a bipartisan immigration fix -- or leave Congress with no solution for the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who stand to lose legal protections by March 5.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will open the unpredictable path with a Senate vote on unrelated legislation. The goal is for the Senate to vote on immigration proposals and amendments from every corner of the political spectrum. Anything that can get 60 votes will pass, everything else will fall by the wayside.
"Whoever gets to 60 wins," McConnell told reporters at a news conference on Feb. 6. He added, "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."
Many in Congress have been craving such an open debate because it will give senators a chance to put their concepts and proposals to the ultimate legislative test. The plan carries a significant political risk that none of the ideas will have enough votes to pass, leaving Congress unable to fulfill their pledge to protect the roughly 700,000 people enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.