The majority leader in the House said Democrats will approve comprehensive immigration reform in the “coming months” as the Biden administration struggles with a surge of illegal border crossings, according to a report Tuesday.
But first Rep. Steny Hoyer said the House will vote on two immigration bills this week — one to provide a pathway to citizenship for the so-called “Dreamers” and the other to provide permanent residency for undocumented farmworkers, Fox News reported.
“These two bills are not the fix, but they fixed a part of the problem,” the Maryland Democrat told reporters. “But we need to pass comprehensive immigration reform, and we’re going to do so in the coming months.”
He went on to say that Democrats, Republicans and independents all know that the “immigration system is broken” and needs to be reformed.
But Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, said he doesn’t think the Biden administration’s sweeping immigration reform bill stands a chance in the narrowly divided chamber, nor in the House.
Democrats, who hold a 50-50 majority in the Senate by virtue of Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote, would need 10 Republicans to vote with them to pass the legislation.
“I don’t see a means of reaching it,” said Durbin, the majority whip.
The sweeping immigration measure also faces a rocky road in the House, Durbin said.
“I think Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi has discovered that she doesn’t have support for the comprehensive bill in the House,” he said. “And I think that indicates where it is in the Senate as well.”
Complicating the matter in the Senate are demands by Republicans like South Carolina’s Sen. Lindsey Graham to address the wave of minors arriving at the border.
“When we start getting into the other areas, it gets much more complicated. He knows that,” Durbin said, referring to Graham, adding, “I wish we could move one piece at a time, but I don’t think that’s in the cards.”
Graham said the situation at the border makes it “much harder” to come together on a reform package and predicted a comprehensive bill won’t survive in the Senate this year.
“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.
Hoyer said the politics surrounding immigration are even more complex now that Republicans are highlighting the migrant rush at the border.
“Republicans have for a long period of time used immigration as a political football to impart fear and apprehension in the minds of Americans,” he said. ”They believe this is a political benefit for them.”
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said his department is trying to handle the “difficult situation” at the border.
And although he still refuses to characterize it as a crisis, Mayorkas acknowledged that the administration is “on pace to encounter more individuals on the southwest border than we have in the last 20 years.”
With Post wires