Hope of Providing Path to Citizenship Quashed
~ by Rhina Guidos, Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON – Immigration advocates were dealt a blow at the beginning of a week that many believed would bring about history.
They had hoped to include an immigration provision in the $3.5 trillion budget bill that would have granted legal status to 8 million farmworkers and essential workers, young adults brought to the U.S. illegally as minors, and recipients of a temporary program for migrants.
Instead, the Senate parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, a nonpartisan interpreter of standing rules of how a provision can be sued in Senate legislation, said late on September 19 that the Democrats’ plan was “not appropriate” for inclusion in the budget reconciliation bill process.
Senate Democrats hope to pass the budget using reconciliation – meaning it could be passed with a simple majority not the 60 votes usually needed and with no Republican support.
“The policy changes of this (immigration) proposal far outweigh the budgetary impact scored to it,” MacDonough said in a statement.
Many, like Sen. Bob Menendez, D-NJ, said in a September 20 conference call that he was “disappointed” but vowed to keep working to find relief for those who would have benefitted. “This ruling does not mean this process is over. She (the parliamentarian) gave her view on only one approach. This is not the end…we are not going to take ‘no’ for an answer.”
Republicans had opposed the tactic and said Democrats should first try to solve the problems at the southern border with Mexico where thousands of migrants remained trapped under a bridge near Del Rio, Texas, trying to cross over.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the ranking member on the Budget Committee, said he was “very glad” in a statement released shortly after the parliamentarian’s decision as made public. It was not an appropriate budgetary matter, he’d said, “It’s a major policy change.”
The legislative language Democrats sought to include in the budget measure aimed to help migrants who are in the country without legal permission but have Temporary Protected Status, which is granted to nationals whose countries have experienced natural disasters, armed conflicts or exceptional situations; agricultural workers and other essential work; and “Dreamers,” young adults brought to the U.S. illegally as children who have temporary protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Hopes had been high that the budget reconciliation bill would be the magic bullet to finally deliver the path toward reform, even at the expense of bipartisanship.
Instead of riding a wave of victory on the immigration front, the Biden administration found itself putting our different kinds of fires related to the issue, even from supporters. Many denounced the deportation of Haitians and others at the southern border. To read the complete article please click here