Dems brace for immigration battle

Democrats are bracing for a fierce fight over immigration on Capitol Hill if Hillary Clinton wins the White House on Nov. 8.

Clinton has promised to send a comprehensive immigration reform bill to Congress within her first 100 days in office if elected, and Hispanic groups plan to make sure she keeps her word.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who stands to become the new Senate majority leader if Democrats win control of the upper chamber, has also staked out immigration reform as a top priority, though he won’t discuss timing.
But the prospect of a battle on immigration reform is causing jitters among Senate Democrats.

The party must defend 25 seats in the next election cycle, including seats in Republican-leaning states such as Indiana, North Dakota, West Virginia, Missouri and Montana — all of which Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump seems likely to win.

Vulnerable Democrats facing reelection in 2018 know that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will seek to use an immigration reform bill against them.

“McConnell will be on the immediate hunt to win back the Republican majority, and the 2018ers will be gun-shy out of the gate,” said one senior Senate Democratic aide.

“They’re worried about what can get done before 2018. They’re already freaking out.”

The other big piece of legislation many see as coming down the pike if Clinton is elected is an infrastructure investment package.

While liberal and centrist Democrats broadly support a push for infrastructure spending, some Democrats would rather see Clinton emphasize that issue over immigration. They say they want her to focus on jobs and the economy instead of becoming embroiled in a bitter, partisan fight over immigration reform — which they also argue could make an infrastructure push more difficult.

“You have only a couple of bites at the apple in your honeymoon,” the Democratic aide added, referring to the first hundred days of the new administration.

By Alexander Bolton for THE HILL
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