The House passed two immigration reform bills on Thursday that would provide a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants. This includes agricultural workers and those who came to the U.S. as children, known as the Dreamers. While there is bipartisan support for both bills, they face an uphill battle in the Senate.
For more than a decade, both sides of Capitol Hill have supported protection for the Dreamers. It’s the disagreement over other immigration issues, however, that may once again block their pathway to citizenship.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who for years has joined Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) in sponsoring the Dream Act, now seems hesitant to move it across the finish line.
“Biden has lost control of the U.S.-Mexican border. Until he regains control and implements policies that work, it’s going to be very hard to do the Dreamers or anybody else,” said Graham at a press conference this week. “Legalizing anybody under these circumstances will lead to even more immigration.”
Thank you all of my colleagues who joined me today in demanding #DIGNITY!
We must secure our border and provide practical, common-sense solutions for our immigrant community. pic.twitter.com/8k9xVrAwRp
— Rep. María Elvira Salazar (@RepMariaSalazar) March 17, 2021
“I am offering dignity,” Salazar told ABC News. “What I’m offering is the art of the possible. What I’m offering is to bring those people out of the shadows, the ones with TPS, everyone who’s been here for more than 5 years and does not have a criminal record. You bring them out of the shadows and you give them dignity so they can continue to working and raising their American children and paying American taxes. If they want to become Americans, after 10 years they can do so.”
Thursday, House Democrats argued especially in the pandemic, Dreamers and farmers need protection now.
“Dreamers are doctors, nurses, lab technicians, contract tracers, and job creators,” said Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA). “Farmworkers are getting infected and dying from COVID-19 at a much higher rate than the general public. They are literally dying to feed you.”
Both bills passed the House Thursday with bipartisan support, but as the situation escalates at the border, it’s unclear if they’ll get the 60 votes needed to pass the Senate and be signed into law.