A group of bipartisan senators led by Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin met Wednesday to discuss immigration reform legislation amidst the ongoing surge of illegals crossing the border.
According to USA Today, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said last month that the United States is on “pace to encounter more individuals on the southwest border than we have in the last 20 years.”
During the discussion from Republicans, a talking point was that the asylum process be streamlined for migrants, so fewer migrant children are released into the United States to await immigration hearings. Democrats pointed to migrant children who were brought over the border illegally, “Dreamers,” be given a path to citizenship.
Durbin commented, saying, “It was a good meeting. It was a very positive meeting and bipartisan, obviously…We did not reach any conclusions. We want to pursue a number of elements: the bills that came over from the House as well as border security,” according to The Hill.
Durbin referred to two bills passed by the House in March, the American Dream and Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act.
The American Dream and Promise Act lets migrant children earn permanent legal status and eventual citizenship. And the Farm Workforce Modernization Act would give farmworkers temporary legal status and the option to become permanent residents.
Durbin posited, “many of the ideas are on the table, and we invite the” Biden “administration to look at them,” and “join us in…conversations.”
The bipartisan group said it plans to meet again soon for further discussions, but Durbin has not set a deadline for striking a deal.
“Most of these we’ve been through before. We got to sit down. We agree, I think we agree, on a bipartisan basis that we’ve got to reform the system, as far as we can take it,” Durbin stated.
Durbin did not comment on whether immigration reform would be attached to the infrastructure bill. It has been mentioned that Democratic leaders could pass immigration reform through budget reconciliation, amidst concerns of a pending Republican filibuster for the upcoming infrastructure package.
The bipartisan meeting included Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., John Cornyn,R-Texas Catherine Cortez Masto,D-Nev., and Michael Bennet, D-Co..
When asked about Sen. Marco Rubio’s absence, the senator who crafted a 2013 immigration bill, Durbin responded, “I hope he will be” involved.