(PresidentialInsider.com)- When Kamala Harris was inaugurated as the vice president of the United States, she left an open spot in the U.S. Senate.
That spot was taken by Alex Padilla, who became the first Latino to represent California in the Senate. After being named Harris’ replacement on the Senate by California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom, Padilla has spent the last 10 months working hard to advocate for one issue — immigration.
Padilla has been working hard to advocate on behalf of immigrant rights. He serves as the chairman of the Senate’s subcommittee on immigration, a position that’s not commonly filled by a freshman senator. He’s also the first Latino to be in charge of that committee.
The first bill that he introduced to the Senate would provide essential workers with a pathway to U.S. citizenship. This would mean that employees of grocery stores and farms who don’t have any documentation for immigration, would be able to become full citizens.
Padilla has been fighting hard for immigrant rights ever since he got on the Senate, and he’s not stopping any time soon. As he described his bill:
“The Department of Homeland Security under Donald Trump recognized certain sectors as – quote, unquote – ‘essential’: Essential for the nation’s security and essential for the nation’s supply chain.
“And to think that there’s more than 5 million undocumented immigrants considered essential by the federal government, that should be an acknowledgment that they deserve better than the conditions they have been living in and working in today.”
The problem with Padilla’s aspirations, though, is that most Republicans are completely against what he’s trying to push. While many prominent Republicans in the past have been open to reform in immigration policies, many are not on board with the type of massive change that the freshman senator wants.
The general counsel and president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Thomas Saenz, told The Sacramento Bee newspaper recently:
“It’s hard to see that compromised pathway when one party is so almost entirely against it.”
Padilla hasn’t spoken up much in any other issues in his short time in the Senate. While he’s let his point be known on issues such as wildfires, voting rights and getting rid of the Senate filibuster, he’s mainly stuck to immigration.
It’s kind of ironic, of course, as the person he replaced in the Senate — Harris — has been put in charge of the migrant crisis at the U.S. southern border. Thus far, she’s done a terrible job of “handling” it, if one can even call it that.
Padilla was one of the senators who tried to sneak in immigration reform bill into the Democrats’ massive social spending bill. Luckily, the Senate parliamentarian said that couldn’t be included in a budget reconciliation bill, so it had to be removed.
Even though he was unsuccessful at that attempt at immigration reform, he’s joining other members of Congress to introduce a new bill that would increase accountability, training and oversight of officers with Border Patrol.
There seems to be no stopping Padilla from trying again and again to push immigration reform.