Saturday, May 18, 2024

Democrats Prepare for Problems Over Biden’s Immigration Plan

President Biden’s immigration plan will finally land on Capitol Hill next week, but supporters who are hoping for change now that Democrats control all of Washington are in for a disappointment.

Facing a rapidly approaching deadline in April to act, Democrats are instead focusing to pass popular immigration bills that already have bipartisan backing, including legislation to provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and immigrants from war-torn areas. The plan is sure to anger some Democrats who have long pushed for a massive reconstruction of the nation’s immigration laws and see quick action under Biden as their most likely chance.

But Several Democrats have stated that they are confronting the political reality and don’t see a clear path to pass a major bill. Representative Gomez stated, “Whatever we do, we can’t walk away empty-handed.” Like many other Democrats committed to an immigration overhaul, Gomez did not close the door to a massive deal, hoping to give Biden’s team a chance. But Democratic veterans say they learned from the party’s big immigration letdown in 2009, the last time it held all levels of power.

Representative Cuellar expressed that he remembered former President Obama telling the Congressional Hispanic Caucus about his overhaul plans in April of 2009. The Blue Dog Democrat then leaned over to a colleague and whispered, “It ain’t gonna happen” and he warned the same thing could happen under Biden.

The divide over how to reshape the nation’s broken immigration system is a well-known Washington tripwire but the question of whether to pursue a piecemeal approach or take one big swing has fresh urgency with Democrats in charge of Congress and the White House. These tricky politics have already started playing out as Democrats work to finalize their massive $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill.

President Biden entered office facing demands from immigration advocacy groups to move legislation in his first 100 days using that window to enact massive policy changes and those expectations have sparked a frenzied internal debate over tactics and the timing of Biden’s plans. Representative Aguilar stated, “We are in a different moment in the sense that we have the administration leaning in pretty hard on this topic and moving in sync with us and being so closely aligned”.