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Senate Judiciary Members to Talk Immigration Reform Thursday


A bipartisan group of Senate Judiciary Committee members will sit down for official immigration reform talks Thursday.

The group, led by Chairman Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., is going to attempt to combine smaller immigration bills into a larger package, according to The Hill, that can net 60 votes in the Senate amid a midterm election year and a crisis on the southern border.

Judiciary members Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas; Thom Tillis, R-N.C.; and Alex Padilla, D-Calif., will also be at the table.

“We’ve got a list,” Durbin told The Hill about the “top heavy” talks planned. “We’ve got a starting list. There could be some more. But it’s a starting point. I’ve talked to four or five Republican senators [Wednesday]. There’s a genuine interest in doing something.”

Talks will also come amid a legal and political fight taking place on the end of Title 42 expulsions under President Joe Biden less than a month from now. It was a pandemic-related policy enacted to turn away illegal immigrants and asylum-seekers at the southern border amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tillis added to The Hill the talks will start with “different proposals where we look like we’ve got bipartisan support.”

“What you have to do obviously is you take a look at the proposals in isolation, then you have to reconcile them against how you would put them together for something that would work as a package,” Tillis continued.

Republicans are making headway on long-overdue immigration law talks, perhaps because they have held up $10 billion in coronavirus aid because of talk of ending Title 42. Ending an emergency-related policy but calling for billions more in pandemic spending did not jibe, Republicans argued.

Still, Durbin told The Hill he wants to keep the Title 42 fight “as far as we can” from immigration law negotiations.

Republicans, while long seeking a more secure border, have been skeptical about immigration law reform with Democrats, saying the Biden administration has not been enforcing immigration laws at the border. Adding more laws might not change that, they have argued.

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