Bipartisan Legislation Needed to Fix Immigration

A recent effort by Senate Democrats to include immigration reforms in the federal budget bill has been impeded by rulings from the Senate Parliamentarian and the recently stated position of Democrat Senator Joe Manchin that immigration is "too big" to fit in the spending bill. If Senate Democrats choose not to bypass the Senate Parliamentarian's ruling in order to include immigration reforms in the funding bill that only requires 50 votes to pass, a bipartisan bill will be required to address needed immigration reforms.

With immigration ranking as the second most important issue for US voters, incumbent lawmakers who make a genuine effort to pass legislation that includes sensible immigration policies that the majority of voters support will be rewarded in the upcoming elections. 

The following immigration provisions that Republicans and Democrat lawmakers agree on, but have yet to act on, would make a great starting point for passable bipartisan immigration legislation:

One sensible policy that has received support from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers is increasing the number of judges and the amount of resources dedicated to US immigration courts. This would help to reduce the current backlog of over 1.4 million immigration court cases and greatly improve the federal government's ability to process asylum claims and manage the humanitarian crisis at the border. The Republican Governor's Association called for this solution in a framework released Wednesday. Furthermore, Democrats put this policy in their budget bill, and it was also proposed in the bicameral Bipartisan Bipartisan Border Solutions Act.

Another needed and sensible policy that has received bipartisan support from lawmakers is a legislative solution for DACA. Since 2012, DACA has allowed immigrants who came to the US as minors before 2008 to earn conditional legal status. For nearly 10 years, the program has helped enable these people to become more productive members of US society by allowing them to start businesses or to work for legitimate employers that pay payroll taxes. A recent federal court ruling has placed DACA in jeopardy, increasing the need for a permanent legislative solution to prevent DACA recipients, who have lived in the US for a majority of their lives and are fully vetted, from facing the threat of deportation. Republican leaders including Texas Senator John Cornyn and former President Donald Trump have called for a legislative solution for DACA, and Democrats also put this policy in their budget bill.

Rather than doing nothing on immigration because they can't agree on everything, Republican and Democrat lawmakers should aggregate policies like these, that they already agree on, and pass them.

Passing these solutions will benefit the US and encourage greater bipartisanship in congressional efforts to accomplish additional needed reforms like updating the legal immigration system, identifying and taxing unauthorized immigrants, and improving border security and functionality.


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