Republican immigration proposal falls flat

A joint immigration proposal from two senior Senate Republicans has been received with taunts among immigration advocates on both sides of the aisle, but some observers see it as an escape valve if Senate rules don’t allow not for Democrats to pass their version of immigration reform.

GOP Meaning. John cornynJohn CornynHillicon Valley: British watchdog to investigate fake reviews on Google and Amazon | Google warns users about unreliable information at certain events | Senators introduce cybersecurity workforce bill Senators propose bill to address cybersecurity workforce shortage (Texas) and Thom tillisThomas (Thom) Roland Tillis Photos of the Week: Infrastructure, Britney Spears and Senator Tillis’ dog The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Featured by Facebook – Biden helps negotiate bipartisan infrastructure deal (NC) on Tuesday proposed legislation to provide a path to citizenship for “active participants” in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Dropped as Democrats question whether to use the budget reconciliation package to advance their own plan, the Senate Republicans’ proposal angered the left for its narrow reach and the right for its proposed “amnesty.”

“Here he is again. Senator Cornyn has one room, made up of four stages. This week, he launches the second stage of Cornyn Con. It’s not setting up a bipartisan breakthrough, it’s setting up a partisan blame game, ”said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, a progressive immigration advocacy group.

“Cornyn and the Republicans don’t want to pass immigration reform this year, they want to run against immigration next year,” Sharry added.

Immigration restrictions dismissed the proposal outright, saying it crossed the red line of offering an “amnesty” to those who entered the United States illegally.

“This is a wasteful and ill-planned endeavor of Senators Cornyn and Tillis. The last immigration policy issue that should be on their minds, or the minds of any Republican senator, is amnesty. Yet another reminder that a politician with an “R” next to his name does not mean he will automatically act in a way that is in harmony with the national interest in immigration, “said Matthew Tragesser , spokesperson for the Federation for American Immigration Reform. .

Republicans made their pitch this week in a letter to Senate Judicial Chairman Sen. Dick durbinDick DurbinSchumer: Democrats ‘ready to quickly fill’ any vacancy in Supreme Court Civil rights groups worry about police reform bill discussions Durbin calls on DOJ to stop defending the Guantanamo detention PLUS (D-Ill.), A longtime supporter of immigration reform.

The offer, which would benefit fewer than 700,000 beneficiaries, is well below what Democrats and some House Republicans are looking for in terms of legalization. This would exclude potential DACA beneficiaries who were unable to access the program during the Trump administration – a number estimated by the Migration Policy Institute is an additional 1.3 million people.

While progressives are publicly confident that Democrats will be able to push through much broader immigration benefits – potentially granting a path to citizenship for up to 11 million undocumented immigrants – Senate Parliamentarian no. ‘has not yet been asked to comment on whether the benefits of immigration can be included in a reconciliation bill.

The broadest version of the Democratic proposal would grant a path to citizenship for DACA recipients, other so-called Dreamers – undocumented immigrants who came to the country as minors – status program beneficiaries of temporary protection, immigrant farm workers, essential workers and their relatives. relatives.

Overall, a broad immigration proposal in the reconciliation process could leave few or no undocumented immigrants without a chance for legalization.

Still, some Democrats are not convinced that full legalization is in their best interests, and there is internal debate over what the parliamentarian will allow.

“I imagine a lot of Democrats will be very anxious to hear what the parliamentarian has to say. Especially for moderate Democrats, if she decides that immigration cannot be included, that could very well be a relief, ”said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Forum on Immigration.

“For others on the more progressive side, they might really want to see it included,” Noorani added.

At least one House Democrat, Representative Jesús García (Illinois), has said he will not support a reconciliation plan that does not include immigration provisions.

Speaker of the House Budget Jean YarmutJohn Allen YarmuthAdams’ victory in New York reignites the Democratic debate on crime, vetting Biden to McConnell for highlighting the bill he voted against Yarmuth faces the main challenge from the State Representative of the Kentucky PLUS (D-Ky.) Responded quickly, saying he didn’t think legalizing immigrants already in the country would have enough budgetary impact to get past parliamentarian.

Still, a gradual red line on immigration and reconciliation could mean that, with the Senate parliamentarian’s blessing, Democratic leaders in both chambers would be forced to include broad legalization provisions to pass a reconciliation measure in order to get enough votes.

And the possibility of adopting a broad legalization agenda is a new prospect in a Congress that has not passed meaningful immigration legislation in three decades.

“The reality is that all options should be on the table, including using reconciliation to try and move something that you might not be able to do otherwise,” said Jorge Loweree, director of policy at American Immigration. Counsel.

“The situation we find ourselves in now, where Democrats control both the White House and both Houses – it could take another decade before we get back to this situation,” Loweree said.

Given the uncertainty surrounding reconciliation and the Democrats’ full support for a broad immigration agenda, some doubt the reconciliation bill will include the pro-immigration group’s wishlist.

Alex Nowrasteh, director of immigration studies at the Libertarian Cato Institute, said he was not sure Democrats had the political capital to push for a reconciliation package or a more autonomous package. important.

“All the measures that need to be taken, all the costs that will be incurred for each of these steps, the political costs and the type of media fallout, all while there is a wave of apprehension – I think there is there’s really just no chance that somebody’s spending political capital [that would] expose yourself to attacks, ”he said.

But he also called Cornyn’s approach a delay tactic.

“I think there is a good argument for a piecemeal approach because then some parts of immigration reform can probably go through,” Nowrasteh said.

“There is a great strategic argument for breaking things … but I only believe it when it comes from people who support immigration reform,” he added.

The criticism generated a retreat from Cornyn’s office.

“Only in Washington, DC would push for a DACA bill to pass would be called a delay tactic to get a DACA bill passed,” spokeswoman Natalie Yezbick told The Hill via email.

And not everyone sees the plan as a bad thing, especially if it is the offer to open a negotiation.

“I think what they are saying is ‘This is our starting point,'” Noorani said of Cornyn’s proposal. ” It’s a good sign. You might not like it, but the fact that they put a starting point on the table is a good thing.

Yet Cornyn’s plan has been criticized on its merits in that it would arbitrarily select a group of Dreamers to grant legalization, leaving others out, including other potential DACA beneficiaries as well as many others. illegal immigrants.

“It cuts out a relatively small subset of the undocumented population and pits them against everyone else, creating tension and conflict and the reality is it’s probably intended to derail any immigration reform, period.” , Loweree said.

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