HomeWorldLast-minute effort to pass bipartisan immigration deal fails, dooming another reform effort

Last-minute effort to pass bipartisan immigration deal fails, dooming another reform effort


Washington — Senate negotiations to forge a bipartisan compromise on US immigration and border policy did not gain enough steam to pass before the end of this session of Congress, dooming another effort to reform a system that has not been updated in decades, congressional officials. familiar with the matter, she told CBS News.

Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, an independent who until last week was a Democrat, and Republican Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina had been discussing a possible deal that would have included legalization for a subset of the millions of unauthorized immigrants living in the US, as well as certain measures aimed at reducing illegal crossings along the US-Mexico border.

But Sinema and Tillis failed to reach a deal that could have secured the necessary 60 votes in the evenly divided Senate during the lame duck session, said three congressional officials, who requested anonymity to describe the outcome of internal negotiations.

The unlikely nomination marks the latest failure by Congress to pass a law designed to overhaul an immigration system that hasn’t been significantly updated since the 1990s and that Democratic and Republican lawmakers have said is in desperate need of reform.

the The failure to reach a deal during the lame duck session also tarnishes prospects for a bipartisan deal on immigration in the near future, as Republican lawmakers will seize control of the House in January and have vowed not to grant “amnesty.” to any group of unauthorized immigrants. immigrants

Senate of Federal Judges
Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Thom Tillis leave the Senate chamber on February 25, 2020.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP


One congressional aide familiar with the talks said there was not enough time for Sinema and Tillis to come to an agreement before the end of the year, especially given ongoing efforts to pass government funding bills. The aide said that a framework derived from the talks could serve as the basis for a bill in the next Congress.

In an interview Speaking with Politico last week, Sinema said that she and Tillis were working on “the most difficult political issue of all our careers.”

Talks between Sinema and Tillis focused on providing a path to permanent legal status for “Dreamers,” or unauthorized immigrants brought to the United States as children, a longtime Democratic priority. They also sought to address Republican concerns about the unprecedented levels of border arrivals recorded over the past year.

According to people familiar with the negotiations, border-related items that emerged as part of the talks included raising the salaries of Border Patrol agents and bolstering their ranks, providing additional funding to the Department of Homeland Security for detention centers and deportations. and enact additional sanctions. for migrants who do not attend their court hearings.

Other proposals included the establishment of processing centers to determine whether migrants have credible asylum cases and an extension of Title 42 pandemic-related border restrictions, which have allowed the US to expel hundreds of thousands of migrants for public health reasons since 2020. The policy, which prevents immigrants from applying for asylum, is ready to finish on December 21 due to a court ruling.

While the talks between Sinema and Tillis received expressions of support from moderate lawmakers and organizations, they also drew criticism from critics on both the left and right.

Immigration hardliners and some Republican lawmakers criticized the Dreamers’ legalization proposal, saying the US should not grant “amnesty” to immigrants living in the US without legal permission amid record immigrant arrivals along the southern border.

Progressive advocates and legislators, on the other hand, denounced border-related proposals, including the extension of Title 42, saying they would undermine the rights of asylum seekers.

Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas, who has previously raised bipartisan immigration commitments, saying Reuters this week that the Sinema-Tillis talks were “going nowhere”.

For decades, Congress has been deadlocked on immigration, and major bipartisan efforts to change US immigration laws failed in 2018, 2013, and 2007. The first bill to legalize Dreamers, for example , it was inserted More than two decades ago, in 2001.



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