Senate Majority Whip Dick DurbinDick Durbin McConnell: I’m very sympathetic to 'Dreamers' Senate Dems move to nix Trump's deportation order Dem senators call for independent Flynn probe MORE (D-Ill.) said it's "unlikely" that the
Senate would move on immigration reform this year.
Durbin said that a tough political environment, especially for Republicans, made it all but politically impossible to move forward with an immigration bill.
"It's unlikely we'll get to it this year," Durbin told the liberal Bill Press radio show, pointing to the political environment.
A group of Democratic senators released their outline for comprehensive immigration legislation several weeks ago. That proposal, by Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidIf Gorsuch pick leads to 'crisis,' Dems should look in mirror first Senate confirms Mulvaney to be Trump’s budget chief Democrats declare victory after Puzder bows out MORE (D-Nev.) and Sens. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerOvernight Cybersecurity: Trump defends Flynn, blasts leaks | Yahoo fears further breach Overnight Finance: Trump's Labor pick withdraws | Ryan tries to save tax plan | Trump pushes tax reform with retailers Democrats declare victory after Puzder bows out MORE (D-N.Y.) and Robert MenendezRobert MenendezSteve Mnuchin, foreclosure king, now runs your US Treasury Senate Dems move to nix Trump's deportation order Senators to Trump: We support additional Iran sanctions MORE (D-N.J.), would emphasize border security before providing a path to U.S. citizenship for illegal immigrants.
"Can we do it? Unlikely," Durbin said of the chances of that bill advancing. "You saw what happened in Utah to Bob Bennett."
Reid himself has acknowledged that the current Senate make-up, where Democrats need at least one Republican vote to advance legislation, made immigration reform tougher. But the majority leader had for a time planned to move immigration next, after Democrats wrap up their Wall Street reform bill.
Reid backed off pushing forward on immigration when Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamTrump’s feud with the press in the spotlight Senators eye new sanctions against Iran Republicans play clean up on Trump's foreign policy MORE (R-S.C.) threatened to withdraw from talks on both that issue and energy and climate legislation.
Durbin still said there was a "remote chance" that Democrats would move an immigration bill, but did not sound an optimistic note.
The decision on moving immigration has political trade-offs for Democrats. On one hand, they may manage to avoid a potentially divisive fight over an immigration bill that might put centrists in their party on the spot. On the other, advocates of immigration reform in the party like Rep. Luis GutierrezLuis GutierrezDems: White House canceled ICE immigration meeting ICE head cancels meeting with Hispanic Dems Hispanics are split in DNC race MORE (D-Ill.) have warned that Latino voters might stay home out of frustration with Democrats, if they fail to put together a bill.