Washington, DC – In the Arizona Republic, Yvonne Wingett Sanchez recaps a new interview with Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ):
“Sinema, who has long favored immigration reform, reiterated her support for protections for undocumented immigrants that Democrats want to add in the reconciliation bill. But it’s unclear if an attempt to pass immigration provisions through the budget process can clear the Senate, where the parliamentarian already has rejected Democrats’ efforts to try to include a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants.
‘I do support the immigration proposals that are being offered in the upcoming reconciliation package,’ Sinema said. ‘I also recognize that there are legal limitations to what can be done in a reconciliation package.’”
Senator Sinema has been under relentless pressure from Arizona activists to support immigration reform, and her public comments send an important signal of support – and cover – to House Democratic moderates gearing up to vote on BBB next week. Immigration permits and protections are included in the House BBB bill and expected to pass as part of the overall package.
As important as Sinema’s public remarks are, let’s be clear that the champions of immigration reform in the Senate are the four Latino senators and Dick Durbin. These five – Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), and Dick Durbin (D-IL) – have been critical to positioning immigration to be included in the BBB coming over from the House, and to pass muster in the Senate with the parliamentarian.
Earlier this week, a poll from Data for Progress highlighted that 75% of voters – including a strong majority of Republicans – back the immigration provisions in the BBB legislation: work permits and protections from deportation for up to 7 million immigrants who have been in the U.S. for an average of 20 years.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
Senator Sinema’s comments are an important signal to her fellow Democrats, especially moderates in the House. With Arizona Democratic Senator Mark Kelly up for re-election next year, she seems to recognize that Democrats just have to deliver on their promises. No one will be handing out participation trophies on immigration reform this year.
But let’s not forget who got us here. The four Democratic Latino Senators – Menendez, Padilla, Cortez Masto and Lujan – have worked closely with Senate Judiciary Chair Richard Durbin to position immigration reform for a victory in the BBB bill. They know that promises have been made for decades, and promises alone are not good enough. This is the year for Democrats to use their majority to finally achieve a legislative breakthrough that transforms millions of lives.