Are Republicans and Democrats Finding a Path to Advancement in Immigration? - Liberty

Friday, September 1, 2023

Are Republicans and Democrats Finding a Path to Advancement in Immigration?


Migrants from Honduras and Cuba boarded Border Patrol vehicles after crossing the Rio Grande into the United States at Eagle Pass, Texas earlier this year.

A drug needle enters a person's arm. Adults and children are walking in the cemetery. Footage of immigrants walking along the sandy beach of the border wall in Yuma, Arizona plays, and ominous music plays in the background of this video.

This is a 40-second political ad endorsing Arizona Senate Republican candidate Blake Masters against incumbent Democrat Mark Kelly. The ad links fatal overdoses of fentanyl and methamphetamine to a surge in illegal immigration at the Southwest border. According to the immigration advocacy group America's Voice, this is one of more than 400 political ads linking immigrants to drugs this election cycle.

And it's part of a fake G.O.P. A story that ties a fatal overdose of fentanyl to a surge in illegal immigration and presents Republican immigration's hard-line immigration policy as the answer to the crime and drug epidemic. Most of the fentanyl is brought into the country through official ports of entry on the southwestern border, hidden in legal trade.

The false narrative that resonates with voters across the country is just one example of how toxic immigration has become. Republicans have stepped up their attacks on President Biden, making it even harder for the Biden administration to secure meaningful immigration reform after the midterm elections. Manage at least one Legislative Yuan.

But even if Republicans want to gain control in Congress and advance immigration policy, especially on border security, they will have to find a middle ground with Democrats to overcome the 60-vote filibuster threshold in the Senate. there is. Regardless of party control.

Here are some of the major immigration issues facing the Biden administration. These issues will require compromise with Republicans to advance legislation.


Immigration advocates demonstrated in front of the Capitol earlier this year in support of protecting DACA recipients.

The Obama-era program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), protects hundreds of thousands of immigrants who came to and grew up in the United States as children. The policy has been successfully challenged in court and appeals have all but been exhausted, and the fate of these immigrants is at stake for migrants working in sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing that are already struggling to find workers. Many are in the hands of Congress.

If Congress cannot agree to enact this policy into law and a judge suspends the status renewal of current participants known as "Dreamers," about 1,000 of them will work every business day for two years. You will not be able to Todd Schulte, president of, an immigration reform advocacy group with support from the tech industry, said:

In a recent letter to Democrats, Schulte said, "This will cause dire and unnecessary human and economic hardship for millions of people," adding that the Dreamers, and other beneficiaries, mentioned the family. He said it would be "very detrimental" to the country's economy as a result of so many people being forced out of the labor force.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, the top Republican in the House and slated for the role of Speaker, said he would never enter into a deal to protect DACA recipients in exchange for G.O.P. Border Patrol. Not a starter. However, significant unemployment in Republican constituencies for DACA recipients could get out of hand for Republicans if employers pressure elected officials to find solutions.

According to a recent poll commissioned by, there has been and continues to be bipartisan support for making a pathway to Dreamer citizenship. But efforts so far have failed without sufficient Republican support.

In an interview with The New York Times, Schulte said that if Republicans want to do something with border patrol, "either they put up or shut up." Democrats have already shown that they are open to some sort of compromise.

Border Security

Border Patrol agents detained a migrant crossing the border near Yuma, Arizona.

For Republicans, border security is a top priority when it comes to immigration. During Biden's tenure, there was a record surge in illegal immigration at the Southwest border. This is part of a global trend exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Many immigrants flee violence and poverty in hopes of finding work or asylum in the United States. They are illegally crossing the Southwestern border because there are not enough legal routes to come to the United States. Visa limits were set based on the US economy in the 1990s, and little has changed even though the country's economy has more than doubled since then.

Still, Republicans are blaming the Biden administration. House Republicans have threatened to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mallorcas, blaming him for an outrageous number of illegal border crossings if they regain a majority. They also threatened to impeach the Attorney General, among other officials.
For Republicans, improving border security starts with reinstating former President Donald J. Trump's restrictive immigration measures. Senator Rick Scott of Florida, who chairs the Republican National Senate Committee, said the first step would be to complete Trump's border wall. The fight over the wall also led to the government shutdown in 2018. Democrats say the wall doesn't work and send the message that the country doesn't want anyone in.

Republicans also argue that limiting asylum and withholding welfare benefits for immigrants are two policy changes that would discourage immigrants from illegally crossing the Southwestern border. "We have a lot of welfare recipients. Instead, we need productive citizens," Scott said on the campaign website.

There may be room for movement. The bill, introduced last year by Republican Texas Senator John Cornyn, has the backing of two Democratic senators, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and Kristen Cinema of Arizona, and points the way to a compromise. I was able to. The bill seeks to employ more personnel in immigration services to deal with the surge in immigration and speed up the process of determining asylum applications in immigration courts. The proposal does not include a route for the Dreamers to obtain citizenship, and this step is still pending.

So far, bills containing both border security and new channels for legal immigration have stalled. Illinois Democrat Senator Dick Durban recently reminded Republicans of a 2013 proposal that received bipartisan support in the Senate. Mr. Durbin said if the law were passed, it would not lead to the current situation of not having enough immigrants legally permitted to work in the agricultural sector.

Farm workers harvest asparagus in Firebow, California.

Another challenge facing the Biden administration is the nationwide labor shortage. This labor shortage continues to worsen as the economy adds new jobs, while recession fears grow. Democrats and the many companies that employ both low-skilled and high-skilled workers want to increase labor by expanding work permit issuance and pathways to citizenship, as well as programs for immigrants to work in the United States. It claims to be able to deal with power shortages.

Many companies argue that allowing Dreamers and other immigrants in the country with temporary status to expire work permits would cause significant disruption to the workforce. Companies pushing immigration reform are pressuring Congress to pass measures that give the economy an immediate boost, lower food prices, and give work permits that can fill vital job openings.

Businesses, especially the agricultural industry, are also pushing to solve the country's current agricultural labor shortage by passing new laws for immigrants to work in the agricultural workforce.

Last year, the House of Representatives approved a measure that would give the roughly 4 million immigrants currently in the United States the means to obtain citizenship without paperwork or with expired permits. However, the bill failed to gain sufficient support in the Senate and was withdrawn.

Democrats want more legal immigration, while Republicans usually want less. Many Republicans see it, as a form of amnesty, adding more avenues to citizenship for immigrants already in the country with expired or temporary status. They also claim that immigrants are stealing jobs from Americans.

Asylum-seeking migrants wait to be processed by Border Patrol agents along part of the border wall near Yuma, Arizona.

For years, Republicans have owned narratives about immigration that mostly focus on illegal immigration and border crossings. Republicans outnumber Democrats nearly 15-to-1 in immigration-related ads on streaming services and traditional TV this election cycle, according to BPI, the communications, and marketing agency that tracks this data.

Democrats see little political advantage in talking about immigration during their campaigns. But letting Republicans fill that void, the G.O.P. message is often the only story Americans hear about immigration.

In general, borders and immigration policy are two of the issues Biden least likes to discuss, his staff said, because they are huge challenges without clear and quick solutions. increase. There have also been disagreements within the Biden administration over how to approach the border, with some aides backing some of the previous administration's restrictive policies, according to two people familiar with the debate.

But immigration advocates say that if Mr. Biden is serious about protecting the Dreamers and pursuing other immigration reforms, Democrats will begin to reclaim the immigration narrative with a positive message that resonates with voters. says it must.

"They better get on the message train," said Beatriz Lopez, chief political and communications officer at the advocacy group Immigration Hub.

Lopez said there is a brighter message on immigration for Democrats to discuss. Her organization found voters in battleground states nearly agreed to protect the Dreamers. She also said she approves of what the Biden administration has done to reunite separated immigrant families during the Trump administration.

For example, Customs and Border Protection seized 14,700 pounds of fentanyl between October and the end of September last year. That's more than five times what it was in 2019. About 80% of the fentanyl seized by the agency last year came from ports of entry on the southwestern border.

"Democrats have an opportunity to lean back," said Vanessa Cardenas, executive director of the immigration advocacy group America's Voice. “We talk about the fact that we can accomplish big things, and instead of just being right-wing and talking about enforcement, we get the ball rolling on positive, positive immigration action.”