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Senators Durbin, Padilla push immigration reform in Little Village visit

Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. and Alex Padilla, D-Calif., in Chicago on Friday, said a revised immigration plan will be submitted to the Senate parliamentarian in a few days.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill. (left) and Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif (center-left) pushed immigration reform at a press conference in Little Village Friday.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill. speaks about immigration reform at a press conference in Little Village Friday. Joining him was another member of Congress, Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif. (center-left).
Cheyanne M. Daniels/Sun-Times

Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Friday Senate Democrats will try again “in the early part of next week” to get immigration proposals in the budget bill that had been blocked by the Senate parliamentarian.

Durbin discussed the future of Democratic immigration provisions at the New Life Community Church in Little Village with Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., who was in Chicago to speak at a Friday night gala for the Chicago City Council Latino Caucus and to do some fundraising.

The Senate parliamentarian last week blocked the immigration provisions in the $3.5 trillion budget legislation on the grounds they were not budget-related. The legislation would create a path to citizenship for Dreamers — young people in the U.S. illegally through no fault of their own — as well as Temporary Protective Status holders and farm workers and other essential employees.

Senators want the immigration language in the budget bill because that bill will need just 50 votes to pass, not the usual 60, since they are passing it using a procedure called “reconciliation.” But to do so, all items in the bill must be considered budget-related.

With the Senate split 50-50, Democrats would need 10 Republicans to support immigration reform outside the budget reconciliation process — and they don’t have them. Durbin and Padilla are among the senators crafting an alternative proposal for the parliamentarian to consider.

“We’re not quitting. We’ve had meeting after meeting this week to talk about what is the next step, what is the next good thing that we can find that will help many of these immigrant families find a future in this country. So a matter of days, I would say the early part of next week, will be our next attempt. It’ll be a different form, trying to satisfy the procedural requirements in the Senate,” Durbin said.

Padilla filled the California seat vacated by Kamala Harris when she became vice president.

“I’m proud to be a speaker at tonight’s gala for the Chicago Latino Caucus in the city council, raising money for scholarships to help young students,” Padilla said. “Young students today trying to pursue their dreams, just like I once did, depend on a lot of financial aid and scholarships to be able to go on to college.”

Contributing: Lynn Sweet