White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki wasn’t willing to let Fox News reporter Peter Doocy’s incorrect claim that the Biden administration has “not even tried” to pass immigration reform slide.
Psaki responded that Title 42 isn’t an immigration law and that, while the Biden administration has been removing some Trump era immigration policies, Title 42 is a health law and the current pandemic justifies it, in President Joe Biden’s opinion.
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“The Trump administration approach to immigration was inhumane and was immoral,” she said. “That’s why we need to put a new policy in place, and we need Congress to pass that policy.”
Then Doocy brought up an old argument made against Democratic presidents: if a law doesn’t pass, then it’s because the president didn’t even try, as if Congress doesn’t have any power over what laws get passed.
But he apparently didn’t know that Democratic immigration reform was rejected just this week in the Senate.
“Unified control, Democratic control of Congress,” Doocy said. “Many months in office. You have not even tried.”
“That’s not actually true,” Psaki responded.
Doocy asked, “When’s the vote?” incorrectly implying that the president sets Congress’s voting schedule.
“There’s been a bill proposed the first day in office,” Psaki noted. “Currently, it was proposed as a part of- steps were proposed as part of the reconciliation process. The parliamentarian rejected that proposal. They’re going back and proposing new options. The president supports that. He would like to see immigration reform pass into law more humane processes.”
She was referring to measures that were removed from a bill earlier this week. Almost every Republican in the Senate opposed them, which meant that it was impossible to get the necessary 60 votes to override the filibuster. They tried to include it in a reconciliation bill – a process for budgetary measures that bypass the filibuster – but that was rejected since immigration reform isn’t a budgetary measure.
The measures would have created a path to citizenship for eight million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. and give many others temporary protected status, which Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) called “mass amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants.”