House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Congress will begin moving legislation that would provide a pathway to citizenship for the nation's illegal immigrants "over the next few months."

The move comes as the Biden administration struggles to cope with a massive surge of illegal immigrants across the southern border that Democrats blame on the nation's immigration policies. Biden, earlier this month, proposed legalizing the nation's approximately 11 million immigrants.

"When you talk about comprehensive reform, you're talking about a large piece of legislation with a lot of moving parts that we have to come to agreement on, and that's what we're going to be working on over the next few months," Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, told reporters Tuesday. "And it is my expectation that we will bring a comprehensive bill to the floor."

Both parties are eyeing the 2013 bipartisan talks that led to the Senate's passage of a comprehensive immigration reform bill. The legislation provided a pathway to citizenship for the nation's illegal immigrants.

But that measure, which included some Republican support, added significant new border security and immigration reform provisions that may be less acceptable to today's liberal Democratic base.

And similarities to the Senate's 2013 bill may draw more opposition from today's GOP. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, no longer supports the 2013 proposal, for example.

On Monday, Majority Whip Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, told reporters a comprehensive bill that offers amnesty to the nation's roughly 11 million illegal immigrants may be off the table in the Senate even though Democrats now control the majority.

"I don't see a means of reaching it," Durbin told reporters. "I want it. I think we're much more likely to deal with discrete elements."

The House will consider those elements this week in two bills that, if passed into law, would provide a pathway to citizenship for up to 4 million people now living here illegally.

The two measures would legalize immigrant farm workers and the so-called Dreamers, who arrived here illegally as children, and provide a pathway to citizenship.

The Democratic-controlled House will pass the two bills this week. The Dreamers legislation garnered eight Republican votes when the House passed the same bill in 2019. The farm workers bill, which affects agricultural states, attracted 34 Republican votes in 2019.

The GOP controlled the Senate in 2019 and ignored both House bills, but the House votes demonstrated at least some bipartisan support for reforming the nation's illegal immigration problem.

Durbin, who runs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said his panel will begin considering the House bills in the coming weeks but did not promise either measure can pass the Senate.

Durbin said he'll talk to Republicans to determine their interest in passing a comprehensive bill of the size Hoyer said the House will take up soon.

"I'll sit down with my colleagues and just see if there's any bipartisan consensus for moving that bill with those two [bills] as the starting points," Durbin said.


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