Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on April 27 that Republicans would be unlikely to support a stand-alone bill addressing the issue of people living illegally in the United States after entering as children, nicknamed “Dreamers,” unless the legislation takes a broader swipe at resolving the border crisis.
McConnell made the remarks at a Senate Republican leadership news conference, during which he blamed President Joe Biden’s messaging on the border and immigration reform for the surge in illegal immigration.
“Well, all I can tell you is that everybody is sympathetic with the DACA issue,” McConnell said, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an Obama-era framework that protects Dreamers from deportation.
“But, as a practical matter, given the crisis at the border … I can’t imagine that we would take up an immigration-related bill, no matter how worthy it might be … without insistence on our part that we address the obvious crisis at the border that is directly related to what appeared to be an invitation by the new president to come on up.”
McConnell’s comments on Republicans being unlikely to back stand-alone legislation echoed remarks made by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who, along with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), introduced the Dream Act of 2021 in February, proposing a pathway to lawful permanent residency and American citizenship to people without lawful status who were brought to the United States as children.
“For years, I have supported a solution for the Dream Act population who were brought to the United States by their parents as minors,” Graham said in a statement. “I do not believe this legislation will pass and be signed into law as a stand-alone measure. I believe it will be a starting point for us to find bipartisan breakthroughs providing relief to the Dreamers and also repairing a broken immigration system,” Graham said, adding that he looks forward to working with Durbin and others to “find a way forward.”
BY TOM OZIMEK