Latino legislators in the US oppose Biden’s concessions on immigration

WASHINGTON.- At first, Latino legislators watched silently and discreetly expressed their concerns to Joe Biden’s government regarding the direction the border security negotiations were taking.

Democratic Senator Alex Padilla of California constantly called government officials to ask why Senate negotiations did not consider how to provide paths to citizenship for long-term immigrants who lacked proper documentation.

Senator Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico made similar arguments when requesting meetings with senior White House officials.

But when talks apparently yielded no results, these influential lawmakers moved into open opposition.

Padilla even pulled President Joe Biden aside during a fundraising event in California to warn him to “beware” of being drawn into “harmful measures.”

Latino senators have found themselves on shaky ground in the immigration debate as the Democratic president, who is seeking an agreement on the border to get the $110 billion package for Ukraine, Israel and national security needs approved, tries to reduce the historically high numbers of people arriving at the border with Mexico.

As negotiations take place this weekend on Capitol Hill, the Biden administration faces growing criticism for its handling of border and immigration issues, not only from Republicans but from its own coreligionists. Cities and states governed by Democrats have raised their voices about the financial cost that migrants cause them.

But what is not discussed are the changes in favor of migrants, such as granting permanent legal status to the so-called “dreamers”, young people brought illegally to the United States as children. The DREAM Act would have given them that protection, but it was not passed.

After the conversation with the president, Padilla, Luján and Senator Bob Menéndez of New Jersey openly expressed their concerns at a press conference of the Hispanic Legislators’ Bloc in front of the Capitol.

They lashed out at Republican senators for demanding changes to immigration measures in exchange for approving aid to Ukraine and criticized Biden for making concessions that they ultimately say undermine the United States’ standing as a country that opens its arms to immigrants. immigrants.

Padilla said his bloc leader, Chuck Schumer, has promised him and other senators to make the proposals known to them before the final agreement. But Latino lawmakers have been excluded from the main negotiating group, even though they have been consistent in their progressive proposals to fix the immigration system.

Biden faces pressure from all sides. He has been criticized for the record numbers of migrants at the border and is trying to resolve political weakness before what appears to be an electoral revenge against Donald Trump, the former Republican president, who has promised to sanction right-wing immigration measures.

And now the issue is tied to one of the main objectives in foreign policy: helping the defense of Ukraine against Russia.

The White House and Senate leaders are pushing for a framework agreement on the border in hopes of passing it on Sunday, said a source who spoke on condition of anonymity. But others say it could take longer.

FOUNTAIN: With information from AP