Harry Reid Could Tie House Border Bill to Senate Immigration Package

Image: Harry Reid Could Tie House Border Bill to Senate Immigration Package (Joshua Roberts/Reuters/Landov)

Wednesday, 30 Jul 2014 07:24 AM

By Melanie Batley

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As House Republican lawmakers work to pass an emergency border spending bill to address the immigration crisis, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid signaled he could complicate the effort by attaching it to the Senate immigration package, The Hill reported.

Reid said Tuesday that if the House passes the $659 million bill, which will include changes to the law to speed up deportation of illegal minors, he may tie it to the package passed in the Senate last year that would grant legal status to illegal immigrants already in the country.

"If they pass that, maybe it's an opening for us to have a conference on our comprehensive immigration reform. If they're finally sending us something on immigration, maybe we can do that," Reid told reporters Tuesday, according to The Hill.

"We've been looking for something to do a conference on. Maybe we can do it with that," he added.

Republicans say Reid's comments are a deliberate attempt to sink or bury House Speaker John Boehner's efforts to pass a border security bill, already opposed by some conservatives.
 
"It is obvious that Majority Leader Reid's suggestion that the Senate could include comprehensive immigration reform in its border crisis bill is a blatant attempt to scuttle House Republicans' good-faith efforts to pass legislation addressing the issue this week,"  GOP Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Jeff Flake of Arizona said in a joint statement, according to The Hill.

The four lawmakers, who were members of the Gang of Eight who crafted the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform package, said they would oppose any effort by Reid to that end.

"Without our support – which he would not have – it would be impossible for Leader Reid to add comprehensive immigration reform or the DREAM Act to any border crisis bill this week," the Senate lawmakers added.

The DREAM act would give legal status to children who entered the country illegally at a young age but have resided in the United States for some time.

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