Following the House’s passage of legislation last week that would put Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and other undocumented youth like Heyleng Castro onto a path to citizenship, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin said that he believes he’s close to getting the Republican support he needs to advance similar legislation in the chamber.
“I’ve been stopped by the filibuster five times from passing it. I had a majority, I didn’t have 60 votes. Do I have 60 now? I think I’m close,” he said this past weekend according to CNN. Durbin co-reintroduced the DREAM Act last month, saying that passing the legislation “is still my highest legislative priority.”
Not to throw cold water on it all, but we do have to brace ourselves for the chance that, gasp, Republicans will pull the football despite Durbin’s enduring good faith efforts (he’s been trying to pass this bill for 20 years now). Durbin does not make clear in CNN’s report which Republicans he’s lined up to try to overcome a filibuster, but his DREAM Act co-sponsor is likely no longer among them.
“Lindsey Graham introduced a bipartisan immigration bill 43 days ago. But if it came up on the Senate floor today, he wouldn’t support it,” Politico reports. “God, no,” the report said Sen. Weathervane responded when asked if he’d still back legislation on the chamber’s floor, despicably using children seeking asylum at the southern border as an excuse to apparently disown his own work. “I’m not in support of legalizing one person until you’re in control of the border.” Okay, guy.
But these days, the real shocker is not that Lindsey is suddenly refusing to support his own bill, it’s that he co-introduced the pro-immigrant legislation in the first place after becoming a yes sir man for the anti-immigrant former occupant of the Oval Office. There’s also the possibility that maybe, just maybe, Durbin might actually get the support he needs. The House’s bill did pass with nine Republican votes after all, and a path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants is massively popular among the American people. Durbin, it appears, is not letting up either.
“Durbin, the Senate’s second-ranking Democrat, said he plans to sit down with Republican members and ask if they would consider supporting the DREAM Act,” the report continued. Durbin said, “I think I’ll have some support. Whether it’s enough remains to be seen.” And if Durbin isn’t able to reach that 60-vote threshold, it only continues to make the case for filibuster reform, which the report said he’s open to.
“I haven’t made the Dream Act a law of the land because of one thing: the filibuster,” Durbin tweeted following the House’s passage of the Dream and Promise Act last week (that bill legalizes temporary status holders in addition to DACA recipients). “Five times I brought this measure to the floor of the Senate and was stopped by the filibuster.”
“Over the last 20 years, at least 11 versions of the Dream Act have been introduced in Congress,” American Immigration Council said earlier this month. “While the various versions of the bill have contained some key differences, they all would have provided a pathway to legal status for undocumented people who came to this country as children. Some versions have garnered as many as 48 co-sponsors in the U.S. Senate and 152 in the House of Representatives.
“Despite bipartisan support for each iteration of the bill, none have become law,” American Immigration Council continued. “To date, the 2010 bill came closest to full passage when it passed the House but fell just five votes short of the 60 needed to proceed in the Senate.”
The second major piece of legislation passed by the House last week was the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which garnered even more support than the Dream and Promise Act, gaining 30 Republican votes. While Republican Sen. Mike Crapo joined Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet to issue a joint statement applauding its passage, that bill will also face similar challenges in the chamber despite its popularity among voters.
“Today the House passed Dream & Promise Act,” Durbin tweeted last week. “It has already been filibustered in the Senate 5 times over the years, a perfect example of why it’s time to reform the filibuster. Lives depend on it and the future of America is at stake.”