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Migrants walk toward Border Patrol offiicals after crossing the Rio Grande River into Texas. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Senate Democrats are considering including about $10 billion in their $3.5-trillion budget reconciliation package for border security — focused on infrastructure at legal entry points, two sources familiar with their plans tell Axios.

Why it matters: Democrats already planned to include roughly $120 billion for pathways to citizenship for Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status holders and undocumented essential workers. The sources said there will be even more to address immigration — with more direct infrastructure ties.

What we're hearing: Details haven't been finalized, but the funds could be put toward facilities for handling asylum claims; additional staff for higher cross-border traffic areas; expanding immigration courts to address backlogs; alternatives-to-detention programs, and various ports-of-entry repairs, three sources familiar with the negotiations say.

  • They also expect roughly $10 billion to be allotted for border infrastructure.
  • The list underscores the border priorities of Democrats and the Biden administration — a clear departure from the previous administration.
  • President Trump's team, on multiple occasions, stalled budget negotiations over its funding demands for an expanded border wall.

What they're saying: Sen. Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M), a member of the Senate Budget Committee, would not confirm whether border security was a part of the reconciliation package but said his perspective on infrastructure "includes modernization of ports at our border."

  • "I’ve consistently advocated for making smart, modern investments when it comes to border security, including requiring 100% of screening of passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles that come into the United States."

What to watch: All of this could potentially be a pipe dream.

Although reconciliation would allow Democrats to pass measures with a simple majority, winning approval from the Senate parliamentarian to use it for tackling immigration and border infrastructure could be a problem.

  • Remember: When senators first took a stab at using reconciliation to pass their $1.9-trillion coronavirus relief legislation, the parliamentarian ruled they could not tack on a provision to raise the minimum wage.
  • According to a statute known as the Byrd Rule, such provisions cannot be "merely incidental" to the government's finances.

State of play: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) set Wednesday as a deadline for getting all 50 Democrats on board with the general framework for the $3.5 trillion, Democrat-only proposal.

  • Some moderate Democrats — namely, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) — are still skeptical of the steep price tag and certain progressive components, but Schumer says they're on track with his goal of putting the budget resolution on the floor in early August.
  • His intention is to pass the measure before members break for the summer recess.

Go deeper

The state of Democrats' tentative climate deal

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Democrats have unveiled specifics about their draft climate and social spending plan, but its path forward is pretty vague.

Catch up fast: The White House announced a "framework" Thursday morning with $555 billion in clean energy and climate investments. A nearly 1,700-page House draft emerged hours later.

Clyburn's closing argument for Virginia

Rep. Jim Clyburn at the Capitol. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Rep. Jim Clyburn rescued Joe Biden's presidential campaign last year, turning out Black voters at a pivotal moment. Now, Democrats are hoping the sage from South Carolina can help pull Terry McAuliffe over the finish line in Virginia.

Why it matters: Calling in Clyburn as a closer ahead of Tuesday's gubernatorial election reflects his enduring status in the party — and Democrats' real worries about turnout despite Biden's 10-point win last November over former President Trump.

  • Hopes that a national $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill championed by Biden could boost McAuliffe were dashed this week when Democratic infighting over a separate $1.75 trillion social spending package delayed final passage.
  • Biden's sinking popularity and some suburban voters' frustrations over school masking and curriculum also have amped GOP enthusiasm.

Driving the news: Clyburn will participate in GOTV events Saturday and Sunday to make his case for electing McAuliffe, a former governor and national party chairman and fundraiser, over Republican businessman Glenn Youngkin. Clyburn's planned stops include several churches.

What they're saying: Clyburn, who is the House majority whip, told Axios his party has fumbled its messaging on the massive social and economic pandemic relief it's delivered already and is on the brink of delivering.

  • "You tell people what you’re going to do for them, then you do it, and then you go back and tell them that you did it," Clyburn said. "We have not done a good job of that."
  • He said he'll offer a Democrat's perspective from Capitol Hill to help voters cut through the noise. "What I’m going to be talking about is, 'Here’s what’s in these packages, here’s what we’re going to pass, and when we pass them you need to have somebody in the governorship that’s going to implement what we pass.'"

The big picture: Virginia's off-year race is being watched as a bellwether for the 2022 congressional midterm elections that will determine whether Democrats keep control of the House and Senate.

The bottom line: "People are beginning to see that this is a contest and it’s not going to be a cake walk," Clyburn said. "You have to give your opponent at least as much credit as you give yourself."

The hard math behind America's labor shortage

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yes, the pandemic has created unusual temporary labor market dynamics. But in the bigger picture, the 2010s were a golden age for companies seeking cheap labor. The 2020s are not.

The big picture: In the 2010s, the massive millennial generation was entering the workforce, the massive baby bo0m generation was still hard at work, and there was a multi-year hangover from the deep recession caused by the global financial crisis.