Border Democrats like Cuellar maintain key to Biden’s U.S. immigration reform By…

by akoloy


© Reuters. U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) campaigns to maintain his House seat in Laredo, Texas


By Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden’s hopes of working with congressional Democrats to craft a legislative resolution to the rising variety of immigrant asylum seekers on the southern U.S. border will hold closely on moderates like Texas Representative Henry Cuellar.

Cuellar, one of the vital conservative House Democrats, has not been shy about warning the brand new Biden administration that it’s transferring too quick in reversing a few of former President Donald Trump’s robust anti-immigration insurance policies.

“If you don’t stop this flow, like I told the folks at the White House when I was with them, what’s your endgame? … They don’t know,” the Mexican-American consultant mentioned in an interview.

Last month, about 168,000 migrants had been picked up by border patrol brokers between ports of entry alongside the U.S.-Mexico border, the best month-to-month tally since March 2001.

The son of migrant farm employees, Cuellar, 65, is one in every of a handful of Democrats representing border communities who typically discover themselves out of step with their occasion.

Democrats management each homes of Congress by very slim majorities, giving the occasion’s House and Senate moderates outsized energy in dictating the result of any legislative efforts.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is working to save lots of immigration payments handed by the House in March, which face Republican opposition within the Senate, the place its guidelines make it straightforward for the minority occasion to dam laws.

The House payments would grant authorized standing to a big group of immigrants introduced into the United States as youngsters years in the past and a few migrant farm employees. Talks focus on increasing the payments to much more employees, whereas additionally addressing what many name a disaster on the southern border.

Cuellar, whose Texas district hugs the banks of the Rio Grande River simply reverse Mexico, mentioned Biden ought to reform and never scrap one in every of Trump’s most controversial initiatives.

That coverage, generally known as the “remain in Mexico” program, dispatches Central American asylum seekers to Mexico, the place circumstances are harmful, as they await choices by U.S. immigration courts.

Like influential House progressives, Cuellar condemned Trump’s coverage of separating migrant youngsters from their households. He additionally believes within the deserves of former President Barack Obama’s U.S. investments in Central America – that had been reined in by Trump – which funded civil society and financial growth.


Whether the bitterly divided Congress can move reform laws this 12 months has large implications for the roughly 11 million immigrants dwelling within the United States illegally, who both arrived with out visas or overstayed them.

It additionally may have a profound influence on Biden’s presidency and whether or not Democrats can hold onto their majorities within the 2022 congressional elections, when the president’s occasion usually loses seats.

Republicans already are positioning immigration as a “wedge issue” for voters.

“While some Republicans will certainly look for areas of possible compromise, it won’t stop the vast majority from using border security like a cudgel against their opponents” in 2022, one Republican strategist predicted.

Cuellar’s district, which encompasses Laredo and is round 78% Latino, is a microcosm of the complexities surrounding immigration.

Its financial system is determined by vibrant cross-border commerce. Business leaders cringe after they hear some Republican politicians dangle the thought of closing the border.

Constituents, starting from ranchers to highschool directors, have complained about property being broken by migrants and have considerations about drug smugglers coming throughout the border, Cuellar mentioned.

All this helps clarify why Cuellar and like-minded lawmakers emphasize stemming the border crossings even because the progressive wing of the Democratic Party pushes for a extra welcoming tone.

Representative Raul Grijalva of Arizona, a member of the Congressional Progressive (NYSE:) Caucus, mentioned he has heard complaints from average Democrats in Congress who fear {that a} liberal message on immigration will flip off voters.

They need Democrats to emphasise “security and enforcement,” Grijalva mentioned, including a steadiness was wanted between “deportation and humane treatment.”

“We have had the enforcement-only philosophy for four-plus years on the border and it has not worked,” he mentioned.

Another Democrat from a border area engaged on the immigration invoice compromise with a average observe document consists of Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who voted towards stimulus checks for undocumented employees.

Matt House, a former aide to Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, confused the significance of moderates within the combat for immigration laws.

But he added, “It’s so easy to predict it breaking down. Almost everything else does.”

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