AZ Central

Rep. Greg Stanton has helped unveil an immigration framework in the hopes of starting open-ended conversations with Republican members of Congress despite little opportunity for passing legislation.

The framework, which follows the failure of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's Senate package combining border measures with Ukraine funding, was created by the New Democrats Coalition, which is made up of nearly 100 moderate House Democrats.

Stanton, D-Ariz., serves as the chair of the coalition's task force on immigration and border security. Yet, because of the makeup and attitudes of Congress, experts are doubtful that the legislation would pass the Republican-controlled House.

"There really is no possibility for something like (the New Democrats' framework) to move," said Adriel Orozco, a senior policy counsel for The American Immigration Council.

The framework includes more comprehensive immigration reform and pathways to citizenship for undocumented individuals in the U.S., which Orozco said he can't imagine clearing the current House.

This reality is something that Stanton is "not naive" about.

"People that are hyper-partisan on the right believe that they needed to not do anything on border security and immigration before this upcoming election," Stanton said in an interview with The Arizona Republic.

Still, the detailed framework reveals the Democratic group's legislative priorities on immigration reform.

It would increase the number of visas to meet workforce demands, provide a pathway to citizenship for migrant farmworkers, Dreamers and international students, increase the pay and number of border security agents, provide additional funding and resources to the federal immigration system and more.

The framework includes provisions that many Americans support and believe would improve the situation at the border, according to a Pew Research Center poll from last Thursday. Sixty percent of Americans support increasing the number of immigration judges and staff in the federal immigration system. Additionally, 56% of Americans said they believe creating more opportunities for people to legally immigrate to the U.S. also would improve the situation.

However, after a bipartisan effort to pass border security measures led by Sinema, I-Ariz., failed to get any traction in the Senate, the House Democratic framework likely serves as a "visioning" or "values document" rather than something that would be implemented, Orozco said.

The document has the goal of "recenter(ing)" and "influencing the conversation" around immigration reform, Orozco said, especially as the Senate border bill moved Democrats, including President Joe Biden, further to the right on immigration issues.

Orozco suggested that comprehensive immigration reform or border security policy is not going to happen before the 2024 election unless the number of migrants at the border reaches an unprecedented high or Biden takes additional executive action.