Immigration Daily

No political support for opening the borders


AFAEL BERNAL – 12/30/22,, The Hill, Democratic Congress was disappointment for immigration activists,

The first Congress of the Biden era is ending with a significant list of legislative accomplishments under its belt, but Democrats will once again relinquish a House majority without delivering on immigration reform. Though inaction on immigration reform has become a constant, the stakes are somewhat higher for the outgoing 117th Congress, as the fate of hundreds of thousands of so-called Dreamers is now in the hands of the conservative majority of the Supreme Court. Over the past two years, a number of immigration reform bills simmered on the legislative back burner and sometimes caught flickers of national attention, but leadership never found the right time to give immigrants top billing. House bills came early in the session Two major immigration bills cleared the Democratic-led House in March of 2021, but the political moment to peel off the necessary ten Senate Republicans to enact a law never came. The Dream and Promise Act would have opened legal pathways — and ultimately citizenship — for about two million recipients of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program and Dreamers, undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as minors. The Farm Workforce Modernization Act (FWMA), would have overhauled the migrant labor market, putting in place a broad deal to address deficiencies in the agricultural visa system, while implementing harsher controls to avoid hiring undocumented workers and opening a pathway to citizenship for potentially millions of agricultural laborers. The Dream and Promise Act received unanimous Democratic support and nine Republican votes, while the FWMA passed the House with only one Democrat voting “no” and 30 Republicans voting in favor of it. But neither the bipartisanship nor favorable public polling bolstered the bills’ momentum, and neither passed the Senate. In the fall, President Biden attempted to push through Congress the Build Back Better Act, a $3.5 trillion economic and social package. The bill needed no Republican support because it was moved through reconciliation, leaving Democrats to fight among themselves and ultimately reducing the size of the proposal to $1.7 trillion. Three House Democrats, Reps. Lou Correa (Calif.), Jesús García (Ill.) and Adriano Espaillat (N.Y.), said they would not vote for the package unless it included Dreamer protections, but they were ultimately forced to scale back their demands after moderate Democrats staged a backroom campaign to minimize the bill’s immigration proposals. Many moderates privately lobbied leadership to scale down the immigration side of the signature Democratic bill, fearing that Republicans would successfully campaign on the issue. Ultimately, even a scaled-down version of the immigration provisions was struck down by the Senate parliamentarian, who ruled work permits were incompatible with the reconciliation process. By the time 2022 rolled in, the two House-passed bills were frozen, with Democrats running from the immigration and border issue in an election year that was expected to yield big wins for Republicans. Lame-duck rush Hopes that immigration measures might move forward in a lame-duck session of Congress were lifted after Republicans underperformed expectations despite their border-centric pitch to voters. Advocates sprung to action, pushing for legislation on the Dreamers issue and for agricultural labor. They hoped to stick the bills or major provisions of them to must-pass legislation. Democrats threw more meat on the flame with a bill that would allow undocumented immigrants with years in the country and no criminal record to apply to regularize their papers. Under the rolling registry bill, introduced in the House by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), undocumented immigrants would be able to apply for permanent residency after seven years in the country. The problem with all of the proposals was that none of them clearly had backing from Senate Republicans — a necessity in the evenly-divided upper chamber.

Republicans want more deportations

Camilo Montoya Galvez, 12-30, 22,, ICE immigration arrests and deportations in the U.S. interior increased in fiscal year 2022

Republican lawmakers have strongly criticized the changes at ICE, as well as the low number of interior deportations, accusing the Biden administration of not fully enforcing U.S. immigration laws amid record levels of migrant apprehensions along the U.S.-Mexico border.