'Not quite ready yet': Democrats won’t take up Biden immigration plan this month
A dismal whip count came back this week showing House leaders don’t yet have the votes to pass the bill on the floor.
Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), a swing-district Democrat, has been making the case to Biden’s Hill team that an e-verify provision should be part of the bill, just as it was in the bipartisan immigration bill in 2013 that fell just short of passage.
“Yes, I support what’s in the bill. I think we would be in a stronger position to get it enacted if we eventually ended up where, I think, the middle ground is,” Malinowski said. “I think for both solid political, practical reasons and moral reasons, those two things should go together.”
The biggest fear for many progressives, however, is what could happen to the bill to win over the party’s centrists, either in the House or when the bill crosses over to the Senate.
“We don’t want this bill to be watered down before it gets to the floor, which is sometimes what happens with immigration bills,” Jayapal said.
Immigration advocates have argued that failing to act on the issue could come back to haunt them politically, leaving Democrats vulnerable among their base in 2022.
During a session at the House Democratic Caucus’s virtual retreat on Wednesday, advocates shared new polling conducted for the immigrant rights groups FWD.us and America’s Voice, which showed that 63 percent of voters would be “upset” if protections for undocumented immigrants didn’t pass. The online survey of 1,200 voters who participated in the 2020 election was conducted Feb. 20-26.
A clean Dream Act proposal received the highest support nationally with 72 percent of voters supporting it compared to 71 percent support for a bill providing citizenship to undocumented farmworkers and 66 percent support for citizenship for undocumented essential workers. The latter is a proposal that has been pushed by Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) alongside Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.).
“Voters will be upset over inaction, especially the voters Democrats need to show up in the midterm elections,” stated the polling memo shared with House Democrats and obtained by POLITICO. “Republicans will not receive all or even most of the blame should the efforts to pass citizenship bills fail.”