LIVE: House Votes on Immigration Bills That Grant Pathway to Citizenship in the U.S.

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  • Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “LIVE: House Votes on Immigration Bills That Grant Pathway to Citizenship in the U.S.” – below is their description.

    The U.S. House is set to vote Thursday on two immigration bills that would provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of people living in the U.S. without legal status, as Democrats’ plans for more ambitious legislation are evaporating with the surge of migrants arriving at the border with Mexico.

    The two bills — which address the fates of farm workers and young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers — reflect a decision by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to adopt a piecemeal approach to immigration amid a dearth of support for a more sweeping proposal from President Joe Biden.

    While both measures are expected to clear the Democrat-led House, the prospects of even these narrowly tailored bills are in question in the Senate that is split 50-50 between the two political parties. Republicans in both chambers are taking a harder line as the Biden administration struggles with waves unaccompanied minors and others seeking entry to the U.S. There was a 28% jump in the number of people who tried to illegally cross the border in February compared with January.

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday said the Biden administration is refusing the acknowledge the severity of a situation that caused it to call the Federal Emergency Management Agency into action and that could be bringing Covid-positive migrants into the U.S. He mocked the House for taking votes on legislation that doesn’t address it.

    “Are they leaping into action to repair the crisis?” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “No — they’re taking up an amnesty plan that would create a special new pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants working in certain industries.”

    House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said the Democratic bill do nothing to address the current situation at the border.

    GOP Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who co-sponsored the Senate’s version of the so-called Dream Act with Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, on Wednesday said he sees no path to bipartisan solutions on any immigration legislation until the migrant surge is addressed. He said the administration is “creating chaos where there was order” when it began reversing Trump’s tougher policies.

    Graham heightened his rhetoric Thursday, calling for newly installed Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to resign if order isn’t restored. He said in a statement that under the administration’s current leadership “it doesn’t have either the will or capability to fix the problem.”

    In testimony to a House panel Wednesday, Mayorkas refused to concede that the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border amounts to a crisis and said get-tough policies of President Donald Trump precipitated the problem. He told members of the House Homeland Security Committee that it can’t be resolved overnight, “due in large part to the damage done over the last four years.”

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    Alejandro MayorkasPhotographer: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg

    Mayorkas added that the Trump administration had left behind an inhumane and inadequate system that his department is working swiftly to revamp.

    ”The children who were separated from their parents under the Trump administration are the subject of an intense effort in an all-of government effort, directed by President Biden, to find the parents and reunite the families and restore our nation to its core principals and values,” Mayorkas said.

    Durbin, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee and is the Senate Democratic whip, said this week that Biden’s comprehensive immigration plan, including a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., clearly lacks support to move through Congress this year or next as Republican opposition mounts. He also said even the piecemeal measures the House will consider are in doubt in the Senate, particularly if Republicans like Graham want politically fraught changes to asylum policy as well.

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