House Democratic leaders continue to push for immigration reform, saying that they are entering a key moment compared to the previous nine months of their bipartisan work.
Their plan is to introduce a comprehensive immigration bill that mirrors the bill passed by the Senate but also includes a separate border proposal.
Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) said Democrats had the ability to move the ball forward by introducing a bill that is “committed to getting border security right.”
“We are willing to make the investment but we want to get it right,” Polis said on a call hosted by pro-reform group America’s Voice. “Simply throwing money and troops at the border is not necessarily the best way to secure the border.”
Still, Democrats are in need of the Republican support.
“House Republicans remain the one group in the nation that appears indifferent towards reform, but I will continue to work with key Republicans who support reform to get them moving forward as well,” Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said on the call.
To push the bill, Gutierrez encouraged the National Day of Action rallies to be held by the pro-reform movement in over 80 cities on Oct.5 and in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 8. The marches are expected to pressure House Republican leadership into a solution that includes a pathway to citizenship.
Meanwhile, the White House is also preparing for a push on immigration reform. As promised to activists, the fall push is expected to come after discussions of government funding and raising the nation’s debt limit.
“The White House and everyone who works here believes that immigration reform can and should get done in this Congress,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told Politico. “In fact, as the president has said, immigration reform would pass with bipartisan support tomorrow, if only the speaker of the House brought it to the floor for a vote.”
But House Republicans say they will block any proposal that includes a path to citizenship, Politico reported.
“Why do they keep thinking we can be pressured on immigration?” a senior House GOP aide told Politico. “They live in a fantasy world.”
Despite the setbacks, Gutierrez said he makes a daily push by talking to his colleagues on both parties, and is confident that they will be able to reach a solution.
“Things are still strong, people are still making the demand, people are still hungry and there is still a very strong desire, will and energy in our community to get a bipartisan solution to comprehensive immigration reform,” Gutierrez said.