The latest update on the ongoing efforts of including the massive immigration reform in the $3.5 trillion proposed Budgetary bill has met with a set back that can create a huge obstacle in the pathway to citizenship of immigrants in the partisan legislation. The office of the Senate Parliamentarian ruled against the Democrats’ plan to provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants living in the country illegally.
The Democrats have argued that the immigration reform which can provide citizenship to around 8 million immigrants would increase the deficit in the budget by approximately $139 billion and hence should be included in the reconciliation process which is solely used for legislations related to budgets. Their arguments considered four categories for citizenship: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients, those with Temporary Protected Status, farm workers and other essential workers on basis of humanitarian grounds.
This move has, however, been consistently challenged by the Republicans who question such a reform should be included in the budget reconciliation bill which is already having a massive spending. The Republicans also such reforms can lead to further chaos at the already disturbed border areas.
To be included in any legislation forwarded through the Budget Reconciliation Process, the said reform must have a healthy impact on the federal budget which should be more than incidental to the reforms being sought. The budget reconciliation process allows Democrats to pass legislation without republican votes, and currently at $3.5 trillion already includes huge social spending policies and reforms expanding the safety net and responding to climate change.
The Senate Parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough pointed out in her decision that such an immigration reform would far outweigh the budgetary impact anticipated from it and hence it’s inclusion in the reconciliation bill is not appropriate. “The reasons that people risk their lives to come to this country – to escape religious and political persecution, famine, war, unspeakable violence and lack of opportunity in their home countries – cannot be measured in federal dollars,” MacDonough further stated in her response.
While it may seem like an uphill battle from now on, the Immigration advocacy groups along with democrats are still likely to suggest alternative changes to the immigration law before the Parliamentarian which may allow anyone in present in the U.S before a certain date to become a Legal Permanent Resident.
This article, under no circumstances, acts as legal advice; therefore, for any immigration questions, please contact your Attorney or the Ahluwalia Law Offices, P.C. (Team ALO).