All Senate Democrats united with two independent senators in 2013 to push through a comprehensive immigration reform plan to build a border fence and end “chain migration” and the visa lottery, positions they now oppose because they are in President Trump’s immigration package.
Led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, 52 Democrats and two independents OK’d the legislation.
It called for “no fewer than 700 miles” of border fencing.
It also included a section detailing the end of the diversity visa, a lottery for green cards meant to diversify the U.S. immigrant population.
And it rewrote rules for which relatives of legal immigrants could come in, the so-called “chain migration” blueprint, to limit the numbers.
The provisions that were included in the legislation sponsored by Schumer, S.744 - Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, are very similar to those Trump is now pushing in his broad plan he will outline in tonight’s State of the Union address.
The bill was dubbed the “Gang of Eight” for those backing it, and it ultimately failed in the House.
But it it did win in the Senate, 68-32. All no votes were Republican.
And that’s not all. Former President Bill Clinton backed a proposal by the late liberal lion Texas Rep. Barbara Jordan to cut immigration significantly. Her 1997 Commission on Immigration Reform called for reducing legal immigration to 550,000.
The White House named January 17 Barbara Jordan Day, noting the 21st anniversary of her death by highlighting her support for comprehensive immigration reform including the end of chain migration.
Administration supporters are pointing to that and the 2013 vote as examples of bipartisanship the president hopes to follow in his plan which includes a huge increase in younger illegal immigrants that would win eventual citizenship than the Democrats sought during the recent budget shutdown.
In Trump’s plan, the number would surge to 1.8 million. The president believes that carrot should bring Democrats to his side.
Also, the president did not include an “E-Verify” program to require employers to make sure their workers are legal. Democrats have fought that and administration officials felt it was worth leaving out of the president’s plan in another bid for Democratic support.
But so far Democrats are lining up in opposition, even to the provisions they approved in 2013.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at email@example.com