Op-Ed: Senators say they’re interested in bipartisan immigration plan; here are some suggestions
Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) plan to bring together a group of senators interested in trying to revive immigration discussions after the April recess. They “want to sit at a table and ask members who have immigration, bipartisan immigration bills, to come and propose those bills to us and see if we can build a 60-vote plus margin for a group of bills.”
Are they serious about immigration reform, or are they just doing this so they will be able to say in the upcoming midterm elections that they sponsored a number of immigration reform bills?
It won’t take much effort to repackage bills that have already been introduced.
In any case, they seem at least to be open to a variety of approaches to immigration reform, so I will take this opportunity to offer them a few suggestions.
Registry — The Democrats tried to include a registry provision update in a reconciliation bill in September 2021, but the Senate parliamentarian made them remove it. That was unfortunate. The registry provision has not been updated since 1986.
The registry provision grants lawful permanent resident status to certain undocumented immigrants who have resided continuously in the United States since before Jan. 1, 1972. This means that registry currently is available only to undocumented immigrants who have lived here continuously for half a century, which greatly reduces the value of the provision.
The Democrats went too far in the other direction with the update they put in the reconciliation bill. It would have changed this date to Jan. 1, 2011, which would make legalization available to approximately 6.7 million undocumented immigrants.
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