Senate Majority Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinSenate votes to confirm Rosenstein as deputy attorney general Overnight Finance: Dems want ObamaCare subsidies for military spending boost | Schumer: Drop the wall and we'll make a deal | Trade battle: Woe, Canada? | Lawmakers urge Pruitt not to close Midwest EPA office 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 ReidWeek ahead: House to revive Yucca Mountain fight Warren builds her brand with 2020 down the road 'Tuesday Group' turncoats must use recess to regroup on ObamaCare MORE (D-Nev.) and Sens. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerSenate votes to confirm Rosenstein as deputy attorney general GOP fundraiser enters crowded primary for Pa. Senate seat Dems: Trump risks government shutdown over border wall MORE (D-N.Y.) and Robert MenendezRobert MenendezTaiwan deserves to participate in United Nations The way forward on the Iran nuclear deal under President Trump Corruption trial could roil NJ Senate race 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 GrahamGraham: There are 'no good choices left' with North Korea Graham: North Korea shouldn't underestimate Trump Five key moments from Trump's first 100 days 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 GutierrezDHS hires incense immigration supporters The Democratic Party playbook must change if liberals are to win the future Army vet slated for deportation over drug charges MORE (D-Ill.) have warned that Latino voters might stay home out of frustration with Democrats, if they fail to put together a bill.