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Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Calls on Democrats to Push Forward With Immigration Reform

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With Democrats controlling Congress and the White House, Americans expect Democrats to deliver on just immigration policies, Senator Harry Reid argues in a recent piece in The Hill.  The former Senate Majority Leader notes that his 2010 reelection proved that Democrats can fight and win on immigration. In that race, he took on a rabidly anti-immigrant Tea Party candidate and won handily on the strength of a multi-racial majority who rejected appeals to racism and division. Today, Senator Reid put out a statement urging Democrats to “keep plowing forward, as the voting public will not take ‘no’ for an answer on immigration,” even signaling the potential catastrophic results that could occur for Democrats in 2022 if voters don’t see progress on immigration.

Reid stresses the urgency, as voters across party lines align with immigration policies such as legal status for millions of undocumented immigrants and reject Trump’s nativism and xenophobia. 

Below are excerpts from The Hill, on the plans moving forward after failed attempts to meet goals with the Parliamentarian: 

Immigrant advocates are wary that Democrats could fail to include any sort of immigration provision in this year’s reconciliation bill, essentially leaving the issue at the mercy of 10 Senate Republicans.

…The Democrats are crafting a package that cannot be filibustered by Republicans, which will make it possible to get it through the Senate if Democrats are unified around it. But there are specific rules for what provisions can be included in the filibuster-proof measure.

The first two proposals, which gave legal permanent residency to millions of undocumented immigrants and immigrants on humanitarian visas, were deemed by the Senate parliamentarian as incompatible with the rules of reconciliation.

A third, which grants temporary relief but not permanent legal residency — and thus no path to citizenship — for millions of people is currently being negotiated between Senate Democrats and the parliamentarian’s office.

Advocates and some Democrats are growing increasingly tired of the back-and-forth, which they argue is unnecessary, as the parliamentarian’s ruling is advisory in nature, and the chamber’s presiding officer has the final say on what can and cannot be included in reconciliation.

Senator Reid’s statement, which was shared with America’s Voice by his office, is available below in its entirety.

As Democrats in Congress work to find a solution for millions of undocumented individuals, Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid issued the following statement inviting Democrats to keep plowing forward, as the voting public will not take ‘no’ for an answer on immigration. Several polls show voters would blame Democrats as well as Republicans in 2022 if they see no progress on immigration.

If my 2010 reelection to the Senate proved anything, it was that Democrats can fight and win on immigration. It makes policy sense and political sense and not just with Latino voters, but also with Americans of all backgrounds. However, the operative word is ‘win.’ With Democrats controlling both chambers of Congress and the White House, Americans expect Democrats to deliver this time on sensible immigration policies. 

By 3-to-1 margins and across party lines, Americans want legal status for immigrants who have worked hard, paid taxes and made their lives in the United States. After decades of waiting to fix this broken immigration system, the voters that rejected Donald Trump’s nativism, and gave power to Democrats, are not going to give us a free pass if all we come back with are procedural excuses.

I have seen the human and economic consequences of this broken system. The current system rips families apart, destroys otherwise prosperous businesses, and keeps millions of hardworking people fearing deportation. We must fix this. This is the year. The time is now.’