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Flash Session of Senate Passes Border Security Funding Bill

I blinked and missed the Senate session this morning, where they used unanimous consent to pass a $600 million dollar border security bill and a resolution honoring the late Ted Stevens. Only Ben Cardin and Chuck Schumer participated in the session, with Cardin presiding and Schumer offering the UC requests.

Harry Reid sounded almost penitent about the border security measure in his statement. Many immigration reform advocates expressed dismay over how the Congress could so easily pass a bill putting National Guard troops and drones on the border, but not give the undocumented a path to citizenship or fix the broken legal immigration system or allow families to reunite or give undocumented students who didn’t come to America of their own volition the chance to participate in society. Here’s Reid’s message:

“Nevadans understand the challenges that exist because of our broken immigration system. We need comprehensive immigration reform that secures our borders, cracks down on unscrupulous employers, and requires those here illegally to get right with the law, learn English, pay taxes, pass criminal background checks, and go to the back of the line. This morning, the Senate passed a $600 million border security package that will help law enforcement officials in the fight against smuggling and other criminal activities in the border area. But I continue to believe that increased enforcement along our borders is only one part of a sound, comprehensive solution to fix our broken immigration system, and more work remains to achieve that ultimate goal.

“Democrats are open to working with Republicans toward a bipartisan solution on comprehensive immigration reform. And we are hopeful that Republicans will match our commitment to fix our broken system in a way that respects our laws and honors our values as a nation.”

We’re not going to see any movement on a comprehensive bill for the rest of the year, in all likelihood. And so this perception of unbalanced priorities is really hurting Democrats in the Hispanic community. Passing the DREAM Act, which has bipartisan support and would at least move the country in the direction of being more humane and welcoming, while increasing productivity and giving talented students who have only ever known America a chance to contribute, seems like the logical next step.

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David Dayen

David Dayen