Comprehensive immigration reform has ‘no’ chance this year, key Senate Democrat reportedly says

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Topline

President Joe Biden’s proposed overhaul of immigration rules has “no” chance of succeeding this year, Sen. Bob Menendez (DN.J.) – a key sponsor of Biden’s billTold Politico, as lawmakers struggle to find an immigration program that can pass an evenly divided Senate.

Highlights

Menendez’s comment came after a bipartisan group of senators — including Democrats Dick Durbin (Illinois) and Alex Padilla (California) and Republicans Thom Tillis (NC) and John Cornyn (Texas) —meet Thursday to discuss immigration reform measures that would be able to garner the 60 Senate votes needed to avoid a filibuster.

tillis mentioned a possible deal that includes guest worker programs and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children could help ease labor shortages in the United States and support the economy, add that Thursday’s meeting would be the first of many.

The Biden administration has come under fire from Republican lawmakers for a spike in southern border arrests that began last spring, further dampening hopes for bipartisan cooperation on immigration reform.

Pass the United States Citizenship Act of 2021— a sweeping immigration bill originally proposed by Biden in January 2021 — in an equally divided Senate would be a “Herculean” task, Menendez noticed Last year.

Key context

Biden announcement the US Citizenship Act on the first day of his presidency. the law provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, award $4 billion in aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to reduce the conditions motivating migration to the United States, increase resources for US courts in the immigration and reverse many immigration-related executive actions by former President Donald Trump. Since then, its immigration program has largely stalled. Several modest reforms bills passed the House with some GOP support last year, but got stuck in the evenly divided Senate, including bills that create a process for agricultural workers to become permanent residents of the United States and leave until 4.44 million undocumented immigrants stay in the United States temporarily or permanently. Biden expressed a certain will to support piecemeal immigration reform, but said providing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants would be a necessary part of any more comprehensive immigration bill.

Tangent

The Biden administration plans to end Title 42 – a Trump-era rule that allows US border officials to summarily turn back migrants – on May 23, but a federal judge last week temporarily blocked the decision to repeal the rule, leaving the time frame uncertain. Democrats are split on when to repeal Title 42: Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) have urged the Biden administration to delay the repeal of Title 42 until a comprehensive new plan to control the resulting influx of migrants is developed, while Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) Thursday called the policy “fundamentally racist, unjust and cruel” and declared that it should be abandoned quickly. Republican legislatorsjoined by some Democrats, are concerned that border authorities have an adequate plan to deal with the surge in border crossings expected once Title 42 ends. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas mentioned adequate plans are in place, but the details are kept secret from “enemies” like the drug cartels.

Further reading

“Strike 3 for Democrats in Senate hopes low for immigration reform” (Forbes)

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