Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is optimistic that there is a “possibility” that 10 Senate Republicans would be willing to work with Democrats to pass “meaningful immigration reform.”
Durbin met with a bipartisan group senators to discuss immigration reform on Wednesday.
During an appearance on CNN’s “New Day” on Thursday, the Illinois senator was asked what the senators accomplished during the meeting.
“It was a good meeting. There’s clearly differences of opinion in that subject matter. But people didn’t boycott it or stand up and walk out. We talked about putting together the different points and seeing if we can find some middle ground,” he said.
He continued, “I want to prove there’s a possibility of 10 Republicans joining the Democrats for meaningful immigration reform including the Dream Act, farm labor, and expanding the opportunity for legal status for more people in this country. That’s the only way we can do it in the Senate, and yesterday’s meeting was the first step.”
When asked if the senators reached any agreement, Durbin said they agreed to meet again. He added, “And that’s progress in the United States Senate.”
Watch the video below:
“I want to prove there's a possibility of 10 Republicans joining the Democrats for meaningful immigration reform,” says @SenatorDurbin on the bipartisan meeting he held as a “first step” towards immigration legislation. https://t.co/qzyqh56Vki pic.twitter.com/i9oR0fEBkQ
— New Day (@NewDay) March 25, 2021
The meeting comes as President Joe Biden is taking heat from Republicans over his administration’s handling of the ongoing surge of immigrants at the southern border.
The Democrats who attended included Sens. Alex Padilla (Calif.), Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), Chris Coons (Del.), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.), and Ben Ray Lujan (N.M.).
Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Mike Crapo (Idaho) were invited to the meeting but were not able to attend.
Graham previously signaled that he would be willing to work with Democrats on immigration reform, but not before Biden “regains control [of the border].”
“Once we regain control of the border, count me in for sitting down and doing what I’ve been doing for years, trying to find a workable solution. But until we control the border, that is impossible,” he told reporters earlier this month.
To pass an immigration reform package, Democrats would need at least 10 Republicans to join them in voting yes.
If Durbin were to be able to secure the votes of all five of the Republicans who attended the meeting as well as Crapo and Murkowski, Democrats would need just three more Republicans to pass an immigration reform bill.
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