Top Dem admits passing Biden immigration bill a ‘Herculean’ task amid GOP opposition

Top Dem admits passing Biden immigration bill a ‘Herculean’ task amid GOP opposition

The
Democratic
senator
leading
the
effort
to
pass
the

Biden
immigration
bill
in
the
Senate said
it
will be
a
“Herculean”
effort
to
get
the
sweeping
legislation
passed amid
significant
Republican
opposition
to
the
bill,
which
includes a
path
to
citizenship
for millions
of

illegal
immigrants.

“As
someone
who
has
been
in
these
battles
for
nearly
two
decades,
I
am
under
no
illusions. I
know
from
my
time
in
the
Gang
of
Eight
that
passing
immigration
reform
through
the
Senate
particularly
is
a
Herculean
task,”
Sen.
Bob
Mendendez,
D-N.J.,
said
on
a
virtual
briefing
introducing
the
legislation.

BIDEN
IMMIGRATION
BILL
CHANGES
‘ALIEN’
TO
‘NONCITIZEN’
AS
PART
OF
OVERHAUL 

The
Citizenship
Act
of
2021
would
give
protected
status
and
an

eight-year
path
to
citizenship
for
illegal
immigrants
in
the
country
as
of
Jan.
1.
Additionally,
it
would
make
farmworkers
and
recipients
of
Temporary
Protected
Status
(TPS)
and
Deferred
Action
for
Childhood
Arrivals
(DACA)
immediately
eligible
for
green
cards.

While
it
includes
some
border
security
provisions,
including
increasing technology
at
ports,
it
is
less
muscular
in
those
areas
than
in
past
attempts
at
immigration
reform.
It
would
also
set
up
refugee
processing
locations
in
Central
America
and increase
the
number
of
immigration
judges.

The
bill
would
also
open
up
a
number
of
avenues
for
legal
immigration,
including
“recapturing”
unused
family
and
work
visas
from
recent
years,
clearing
visa
backlogs,
and
increasing the
number
of
annual
diversity
lottery
visas
to
80,000
from
55,000. 

Menendez
is
leading
the
push
to
pass
the
legislation
in
the
Senate,
the
chamber
where
passage
will
be
most
difficult.
Menendez
was
one
of
the
bipartisan
Gang
of
Eight who
in
2013
worked
an
immigration
reform
compromise.
That
bill
passed
the
Senate
but
never
got
through
the
then-Republican-controlled
House.

Now,
the
Democrats
hold
a
slim
majority
in
the
House,
and
will
have
control
of
the
Senate,
but
with
a
50-50
split
of
lawmakers.
The
bill
will
need
60
votes
to
overcome
the
filibuster
in
the
chamber

meaning
that
10
Republicans
would
need
to
get
on
board.

BIDEN
ADMINISTRATION
IMPOSES
100-DAY
‘PAUSE’
ON
DEPORTATIONS
OF
ILLEGAL
IMMIGRANTS 

Menendez
noted
the
2013
legislation
did
pass
with
bipartisan
support
and
said
he
had
a
history
of
brokering
bipartisan
deals
in
the
Senate
and
was
ultimately
positive
about
the
chances
of
doing
the
same
here.

“I
believe
we
can
do
so
on
immigration
reform,”
he
said.

But
so
far,
there
are
few
signs
of
Republicans
playing
ball.
Senate
GOP
leader
Mitch
McConnell
said
on
Thursday
the
Biden
administration
has
“sketched
out
a
massive
proposal
for
blanket
amnesty
that
would
gut
enforcement
of
American
laws
while
creating
huge
new
incentives
for
people
to
rush
here
illegally
at
the
same
time.

“This
kind
of
failed
approach
will
invite
another
humanitarian
crisis
on
our
border
and
privilege
powerful
interests
ahead
of
American
workers,”
McConnell
said.

Sen.
Marco
Rubio,
R-Fla.,
who
was
on
the
2013
Gang
of
Eight with
Menendez,
called
amnesty
a
“nonstarter”
this
week.

“America
should
always
welcome
immigrants
who
want
to
become
Americans.
But
we
need
laws
that
decide
who
and
how
many
people
can
come
here,
and
those
laws
must
be
followed
and
enforced,”
Rubio said
in
a
statement. 

“There
are
many
issues
I
think
we
can
work
cooperatively
with
President-elect
Biden,
but
a
blanket
amnesty
for
people
who
are
here
unlawfully
isn’t
going
to
be
one
of
them,”
he
said.

Democrats
are
urging business
groups
and
activists
to
rally
for
passage
and
pressure
Republicans.
Menendez
said
those
in
the
business
community
need
to
“give
it
everything
you’ve
got,”
while
telling
those
in advocacy
and
labor
groups:
“We’ve
got
our
work
cut
out
for
us.”

Separately,
the
George
W.
Bush
Institute
released
a
statement
on
Thursday
saying
it
was
“pleased
to
see
President
Biden
prioritize
action
on
immigration
and
recognize
the
essential
role
of
Congress
in
enacting
meaningful
and
enduring
reform.”

BIDEN
IMMIGRATION
BILL
WOULD
PUT
MILLIONS
OF
ILLEGAL
IMMIGRANTS
ON
8-YEAR
FAST-TRACK
TO
CITIZENSHIP

But
Republicans
will
face
pressure
from
conservative
groups
and
those
calling
for
lower
levels
of
immigration
overall,
who
are
keen
for
Republicans
not
to
support
any
form
of
the
bill.

“President
Biden
and
congressional
Democrats
are
sending
an
unmistakable
signal
that
they
will
do
nothing
to
protect
the
interests
or
the
safety
of
the
American
people
when
it
comes
to
immigration
— even
in
the
middle
of
a
global
pandemic
and
economic
crisis,”
RJ
Hauman,
director
of
government
relations
at
the
Federation
for
American
Immigration
Reform
(FAIR),
told
Fox
News.
“Republicans
in
the
Senate
must
hold
firm
and
reject
this
egregious,
amnesty-focused
charade.”

Menendez
himself
previously
acknowledged
to

The
Washington
Post that
the
text
is
“definitely”
more
liberal
than
the
2013
effort
and
on
Thursday
called
it
a
“bold
and
forward-leaning
bill”
that
would
be
difficult
to
draw
Republican
support
and
said
it
may
require
some
negotiation
to
get
that
support.

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But
while
acknowledging
the
path
ahead
was
difficult,
he
said
that
he
believed
the
push
would
be
successful

and
cited
the
support
of
both
Biden
and
Vice
President
Kamala
Harris.

“As
I
prepare
to
introduce
the
U.S.
Citizenship
Act
of
2021
in
the
Senate,
I
know
that
President
Biden
and
Vice
President
Harris
are
going
to
be
strong
partners,”
he
said.
“They
want
to
get
it
done
and
we
will
get
it
done.”

Adam
Shaw
is
a
reporter
covering
U.S.
and
European
politics
for
Fox
News.
He
can
be
reached
at
adam.shaw@foxnews.com.

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