Durbin: Senators to release immigration bill Wednesday

Durbin: Senators to release immigration bill Wednesday
© Greg Nash

Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinManchin, Collins leading talks on overhauling election law, protecting election officials Swalwell slams House Republican for touting funding in bill she voted down Schumer opted for modest rules reform after pushback from moderates MORE (D-Ill.) said that a bipartisan group of senators will release their immigration and border security bill on Wednesday, despite pushback from President TrumpDonald TrumpPredictions of disaster for Democrats aren't guarantees of midterm failure A review of President Biden's first year on border policy  Hannity after Jan. 6 texted McEnany 'no more stolen election talk' in five-point plan for Trump MORE.

"It will be available tomorrow and we're prepared for a vote as quickly as possible," Durbin told reporters on Tuesday

He added that the group of six senators are urging Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden stiff arms progressives on the Postal Service Biden clarifies any Russian movement into Ukraine 'is an invasion' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks, Senate balks MORE (R-Ky.) to give them a "test vote" to show the level of support for the forthcoming legislation. 

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"And if it is successful, as I believe it will be, [I hope] that Sen. McConnell will include it as an amendment to must-pass legislation," Durbin said.

Durbin didn't specify what "must-pass legislation" he was referring to, but Congress has roughly four days to pass a short-term stopgap funding bill to prevent a government shutdown. 

Democrats have remained tight-lipped about if they will support the funding bill, known as a continuing resolution or CR, without an immigration deal.

Spokespeople for Republican Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenators introduce bill aimed at protecting Ukrainian civilians Kyrsten Sinema's courage, Washington hypocrisy and the politics of rage Hillicon Valley: Amazon's Alabama union fight — take two MORE (S.C.) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeCruz to get Nord Stream 2 vote as part of deal on Biden nominees Democrats threaten to play hardball over Cruz's blockade Rubio vows to slow-walk Biden's China, Spain ambassador nominees MORE (Ariz.), two GOP members of the so-called Gang of Six, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the timing of the legislation or what a potential "test vote" could be. 

In addition to Flake, Graham and Durbin, Democratic Sens. Bob Menendez (N.J.) and Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetEight senators ask Biden to reverse course on Trump-era solar tariffs Biden addresses Coloradans after wildfires: 'Incredible courage and resolve' Equilibrium/Sustainability — Mars may start 'terraforming itself' MORE (Colo.) as well as GOP Sen. Cory GardnerCory GardnerEleven interesting races to watch in 2022 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to tackle omicron risks with new travel rules Gun control group alleges campaign finance violations in lawsuit against NRA MORE (Colo.) have been negotiating the agreement.

Flake has signaled that they've picked up additional supporters, though a spokesman for Durbin didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Senate group's bill is expected to tie a pathway to citizenship to roughly $2.7 billion in border security.

It's also expected to shuffle some of the diversity lottery visas toward Temporary Protected Status (TPS) countries and make changes to family-based immigration that would be limited to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and their family members.

But the group could face an uphill battle to get a floor vote. McConnell has said he will only bring up an immigration bill if the president has indicated that he'll sign it.

Trump sparked a political firestorm after he reportedly referred to several developing nations as "shithole countries" during a meeting with Durbin, Graham and several conservative lawmakers last week.

The president has also blasted the bipartisan group's bill, saying Durbin "blew" the chances of an agreement on the Obama-era DACA program which allows certain young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children to work and go to school in the U.S. 

"The Democrats want to shut down the Government over Amnesty for all and Border Security. ... We need a merit based system of immigration, and we need it now! No more dangerous Lottery," Trump said in a tweet on Tuesday

Conservative lawmakers have also criticized the legislation for not including tougher interior enforcement measures.