A Senate Democrat leading the party's efforts to pass an immigration bill that would allow millions of illegal immigrants to get on an 8-year pathway to citizenship cast serious doubt on the likelihood of the proposal passing.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the chamber's second-ranking Democrat, declared that he doesn't believe there is enough backing in Congress to pass the aggressive bill, one of the issues that President Joe Biden campaigned on.
“I don’t see a means of reaching that,” Durbin said on Monday. “I want it. I think we are much more likely to deal with discrete elements [of such a plan].”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has been insisting on dealing with the issues involved with the inpouring of children and families at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to Durbin, and this would make it more difficult to deal even with the individual aspects of immigration law changes.
“When we start getting into the other areas, it gets much more complicated. He knows that,” Durbin said, referring to Graham.
Durbin said added later: “I wish we could move one piece at a time, but I don’t think that’s in the cards.”
Graham noted that the problems at the border render the possibility of reaching an agreement “much harder,” further telling reporters that he believes a comprehensive immigration bill won't work out this year based.
“It’s going to be really hard to get a bipartisan bill put together on anything that has a legalization component until you stop the flow,” Graham said.
Last month, Democrats in Congress formally introduced Biden's new immigration bill.
“The U.S. Citizenship Act provides an earned path to citizenship for our nation’s undocumented community, with qualifying Dreamers, TPS (Temporary Protected Status) holders, and essential farmworkers that feed America eligible for green cards immediately,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said of the bill in a statement.
While the plan offers one of the fastest pathways to citizenship of any proposed measure in recent years, it does so without offering any enhanced border security, which past immigration negotiations have used as a way to win Republican votes. Without enhanced security, the bill faces tough odds in a closely divided Congress.
Some GOP members expressed their opposition to the approach of the proposed reforms.
“No! This is not the right time and certainly not the right set of policies,” Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) wrote in Twitter, pointing to the pandemic. “Let’s focus on those Americans who are struggling right now.”
“The left wants to fund this border security around the Capitol but they don’t want to fund a border wall at our southern border,” Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) told Fox News.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement that Biden’s immigration proposal is “blatantly partisan” and disregards the country’s safety and economy.