Multiple sources close to the Biden administration stated recently that they expect the White House to let Congress take the lead on forging immigration reform — even though Biden introduced his bill on day one, designating immigration as one of the top issues of the administration.
“The White House will provide guidance". And, indeed, chief of staff Ron Klain and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan are said to be hands-on and “feel a responsibility and an ownership” over the immigration push already, according to one of the sources close to the White House.
But the main objective is progress. "And if that means moving components of reform through Congress one at a time, or in smaller packages, Biden will be fine with that", two sources close to the White House said, reports Politico
Biden’s proposal, introduced on his first day in office, includes a blanket amnesty for 11 million illegal aliens, dramatically increased refugee resettlement, and offered an eight-year pathway to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of people with temporary protected status and beneficiaries of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
Although Politico reports Biden may be leaving Congress to refine the details of passing his immigration plan, that does not prevent the president from effectively creating his own legal mechanism through executive order. Biden plans to sign several immigration memorandums this Friday. Included are EOs related to regional migration and border processing that will rescind effective policies directed at exposing asylum fraud; and an order directing an immediate review of the public charge rule and “other actions to remove barriers and restore trust in the legal immigration system.”
Some have taken Biden’s reliance on Congress to codify his immigration plan as a sign that his commitment to “comprehensive immigration reform” was purely superficial, “I want to be clear: There is nothing about the way they are behaving right now that suggests it is not a priority,” said Lorella Praeli, president of Community Change Action, when asked about such ideas. “And in the event that it were (sic) not [a priority], they will lose the majority in 2022."
Besides, according to Politico, “A White House official disputes that Biden is deferring to Congress and says the president is working with lawmakers to pass the larger bill. That proposal includes elements the president feels weren’t effectively addressed previously as the Trump administration’s policy was centered around building a border wall, the official said. ‘We expect elected officials from both sides of the aisle to come to the table so we can finally get this done,’ the official said.
Other sources close to the White House and several immigrant advocates said Democrats must frame any immigration push as vital to the country’s economic recovery.”
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) described that the Biden administration “will put political capital on the table to make [immigration reform] happen,” he said on a call with immigrant and labor advocates last week. He’s spoken with Sen. Lindsey Graham, who in 2013 supported the disastrous Gang of Eight bill, and Menendez thinks the South Carolina Republican will ultimately help current reform measures.
Menendez has not spoken to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla) about the bill yet, but he’s talked to other Republicans who voted in favor of the effort in 2013. The other Republicans still in office that supported immigration reform under Obama are Sens. John Hoeven (N.D.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), and Susan Collins (Maine).
The Politico report concludes:
Menendez and a number of other Democratic lawmakers said they want to push a large immigration package at once, hopeful that it will provide more leverage in negotiations. But the realities of a split Senate make it harder, and other senators like Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin—who will be tasked with shepherding any immigration reforms through the Senate Judiciary Committee—have left the door open to a more step by step approach.
Though talks are early and fluid, some House members working on Biden’s immigration proposal said during a recent meeting that they want to take a shot at a comprehensive bill first. But they said they’re open to breaking off individual pieces if the larger bill stalls, according to a source with knowledge of discussions. A sweeping package could meet fierce resistance in the 50-50 Senate if Democrats don’t eliminate the legislative filibuster or find ways to include immigration proposals in the budget reconciliation process...
“[We can] be cynical or skeptical about what the likelihood of Republicans coming to the table on some of this might be,” said Marshall Fitz, managing director of immigration for the Emerson Collective, a social justice organization. “But I think Biden really legitimately does want to see how far he can go.”
For the full story, please visit Politico.
Updated: Tue, Feb 9th 2021 @ 11:55am EST