House Democrats postponed plans for a vote on President Biden’s immigration reform bill after a whip count revealed it might not pass, according to a report. The Biden bill would create a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants
Published: 2021-03-04 10:53 am
House Democrats reportedly delay Biden immigration bill over fears it may not pass
nypost.com

House Democrats postponed plans for a vote on President Biden’s immigration reform bill after a whip count revealed it might not pass, according to a report.

The Biden bill would create a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the US. But Republicans say that would spur a rush to the border of new migrants and Democrats can spare few defections with a narrow 10-seat advantage in the House of Representatives.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) confirmed the delay, telling Politico, “We need to engage in some consultation with key members and stakeholders, but I see no reason why we wouldn’t mark it up when we reconvene in April.”

Centrist Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Ariz.) acknowledged he was among the legislators uneasy with the bill.

“We need to have a discussion. It was put together by a few people. I don’t know what the role of the administration has been,” he told Politico.

Democrats are considering instead holding votes on less ambitious elements of the Biden administration’s immigration agenda.

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House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (second from left) confirmed the delay on the vote.
Jacquelyn Martin/AP

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Tuesday said there would be votes in mid-March on two smaller bills. One would offer legal status to farm workers who currently lack government permission to work, and the other would allow a path to citizenship to people brought illegally to the US as children.

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Activists and citizens with temporary protected status (TPS) march towards the White House on February 23, 2021.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The comprehensive Biden plan proposed a once-in-a-generation but gradual amnesty that would give most illegal immigrants a chance to gain legal status and ultimately citizenship.

The Biden plan calls for illegal immigrants to be allowed a five-year period of “temporary legal status,” followed by three years with a green card, after which they could apply for citizenship.

But immigration has historically divided Democrats and a new crisis along the border with Mexico makes the changes a tougher sell — with Republicans blaming both Biden’s policies and his proposed legislation for creating “pull” factors.

An ambitious immigration overhaul would have trouble passing the evenly divided Senate, where a 60-vote supermajority is needed for most legislation.

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Demonstrators with the New York Immigration Coalition rally push for President Joe Biden to prioritize immigration.
Mark Lennihan/AP

The Dream Act, which would have shielded young people brought to the country illegally as children, died in a 55-41 Senate vote in 2010, with five Democrats including current Sen. Jon Tester of Montana voting against it. Former President Barack Obama created a similar program through executive order in 2012.

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