Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) (Getty Images)

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) (Getty Images)

(CNS News) — When asked whether illegal aliens should be given a pathway to citizenship, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said, “There should be a pathway.”

At the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, CNS News asked the senator, “Should illegal aliens be given a pathway to citizenship?”

Senator Manchin said, “I’m all for the 2013 bill. Just look at the 2013 immigration bill we did.”

In a follow-up question, CNS News asked, “And is our southwest border secure now?”

“Oh, we need to do so much more, we all have to in this, in this challenge that we have, my goodness,” he said.

“I think we should secure the border, I think the border should be secure,” he added. “There should be a pathway, and there should be a process. You know, we are a country of immigration. I’m here because of immigration, back in the early 1900s with my grandparents, so I still believe in it.”

The senator continued, “But there should be a pathway. There should be a vetting process and there should be a person’s pathway to have a better opportunity and a better life. And we need workers, we need more influx of people who really want to be here for the right reasons.”

Senate Democrats are pursuing a pathway to citizenship for an estimated 8 million illegal aliens, or “undocumented immigrants,” as part of a $3.5 trillion budget resolution aimed at achieving many items on President Joe Biden’s agenda. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said they will act on the resolution before the extended August recess.

As part of the broad economic package, the Senate Judiciary Committee was charged with crafting a $120-billion bill for “making improvements on U.S. ports of entry, clearing out a backlog of visa applications, or other changes,” a Senate Democratic aide working closely on the plan told Bloomberg News. There was no mention of any funds going towards border security.

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

“Of the 8 million immigrants that Democrats want to aid in the economic package, 3 million would be young, undocumented immigrants known as ‘Dreamers,’ migrant workers, and some with ‘temporary protected status’ because dangerous conditions present risks, if they return to their home countries, the aide said,” according to Bloomberg News. “The other 5 million would be ‘essential workers’ who have yet to be defined.”

This immigration piece apparently is becoming increasingly crucial for the Senate Democrats to secure, as several House Democrats have said they will not support the larger economic package unless it is included.