(USA Features) Some Democrats are pushing the Biden administration to insert a provision into its infrastructure bill that would give amnesty to people inside the U.S. illegally, the Miami Herald reported.
In a private meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris this week, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) pressed for a pathway to citizenship for tens of millions of undocumented migrants in President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill, the paper said.
Menendez, who is leading the administration’s immigration agenda in Congress, made a “big push” to Harris Tuesday, according to a source familiar with the meeting. The Herald reported that a spokesperson from Menendez’s office “confirmed that characterization.”
“He made a strong appeal for the VP and made the case for a large population of the undocumented community to be included in a pathway to citizenship,” a Menendez spokesperson told the paper. “We’re exploring every avenue.”
Immigration advocates are already backing the proposal.
“I’m hopeful that his incredibly persuasive argument for that was persuasive to her as a former Senate colleague who I think she has a lot of respect for,” Jess Morales Rocketto, executive director of the domestic worker advocacy group Care in Action, told the paper. “It felt really significant to me that he made such a big persuasive push.”
Later, Harris addressed the issue with the media.
“I’m here on behalf of the Biden-Harris administration to tell you this administration fully intends to do everything in our power to protect our DREAMers,” she said, a reference to a group of illegal immigrants brought to the country by their parents when they were young.
“There will be no question about that. There is no question about that.”
Earlier, The Associated Press reported that Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Independent who caucuses with Democrats, was also eying an amnesty provision to the infrastructure bill that would give amnesty to DREAMers, aliens considered “essential” to the U.S. economy, and those already in the country legally on a temporary visa.
White House officials, however, reiterated this week that Biden doesn’t want to include any amnesty provisions in an infrastructure bill, referring to earlier comments made by White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
“The president doesn’t feel that reconciliation is the preferred path forward for moving these — these areas — priority areas of immigration forward,” Psaki said in May. “We should move things forward in a bipartisan manner, and we’ll continue to press for that.”