“The sweet spot for getting an immigration deal remains now. The closer we get to the election and certainly post-election, the more difficult it will be,” the Colorado Republican recounted telling the president. “If we wait longer, the more difficult it becomes. They’ll blame it on both parties at that point.”

A group of senators in both parties is beginning to restart back-channel talks across the aisle and with the White House in hopes that the chamber will be ready to act if the House or the courts throw the issue back to the Senate this summer. But the Senate isn’t ready to take up the issue after a thoroughly unproductive immigration debate in February, followed by months of radio silence…

“Either the House sends us something or the court sends us something and suddenly we have to do something,” said Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.). “I don’t want to be standing there saying we’ve been doing nothing for months.”