Activists, progressives demand reversal of parliamentarian ruling against amnesty provision
(*_ Immigrant Rights advocates stated Monday that Democrats need to change, ignore, or overturn the Senate parliamentarian’s ruling that the law forbids the addition of an amnesty fund for millions of illegal immigrants in the $3.5 trillion budget bill.
Some activists stated that they are willing to allow party leaders more time to make changes in Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ”s mind and offer an alternative legalization plan.
But a growing number of voices are saying that Democrats should consider tougher measures. These include voting to overturn her judgment, end 30 years’ Senate practice, and bully the amnesty through Congress.
“It’s time for us to stop honoring outdated procedures and honour the promises we made immigrant families,” Rep. AyannaPressley, a Massachusetts Democrat, stated on Twitter.
The National Immigration Law Center stated explicitly that Democrats must vote to “overrule” the decision and warned about “implications” for a party that fails.
The tough talk highlighted the high stakes for Democrats regarding immigration after years of promising action but with no bill clearing Congress.
The new hiccup came with Ms. MacDonough, who ruled that attempting to grant legal status to as many as 8 million illegal immigrants was a massive policy change and thus can’t be tucked into budget “reconciliation,” a process that allows the majority to avoid a filibuster and pass fiscal legislation by majority vote.
Democratic leaders claim they have other proposals that might be compatible with the rules.
Some activists stated that they will give Democrats the time to present their case.
” The parliamentarian is a civil servant. We want to respect the role she played. She is at the disposal of Democratic leadership. Her reply was political, however, we have more power,” stated Gustavo Torres (executive director of CASA), a prominent immigrant rights group in Washington.
But activists stated that there is no doubt where it will end up. Democrats need to find a way for broad legalization.
“President Biden, Democrats in Congress, promised to protect immigrant young people and their families,” United We Dream Action stated in an email to supporters. “We cannot accept broken promises .”
Democrats are considering updating a section of existing law that allows illegal immigrants to apply for a greencard, which is the first step in the path to citizenship. Backers suggest that a newer date could grant citizenship rights to millions.
Advocates stated that other options are also being considered.
Should Democrats fail to devise a plan to win Ms. MacDonough’s support, activists and more than a few Congressmen say that the next step would be to marginalize her.
This is not a ruling. This is not binding. “It’s just an opinion,” Ms. Pressley said to reporters. “I don’t believe that a Senate Parliamentarian, who has repeatedly proven themselves to be an obstructionist towards getting the people what they need and to advance President Obama’s agenda, should be standing between Senate Democrats. However, Richard J. Durbin, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and chief negotiator for Democrats on immigration, stated that it was unlikely.
He said that he doesn’t think there are enough votes to pass the floor.
Democrats could try to fire Ms. MacDonough and find a more pliable parliamentarian. After a ruling they disagreed with when they controlled this chamber 20 years ago, the Republicans adopted that approach.
Some Democrats have renewed their call for defanging the filibuster. This would remove the need to use the complicated budget reconciliation process to pass bills through majority vote.
Senator Charles E. Grassley, a top Republican on Judiciary Committee said that immigration is so important that it should not be tucked away in a budget debate like a spending proposal.
“The issue of immigration is, at its core, about the policies that we put in place in order to give people around the world one the most precious and meaningful gifts we can give. That’s the right to legally set up your life here and in many cases, to pursue American citizenship,” he stated.
He said Democrats could make it easier by curbing their desire for amnesty, and limiting the number of legal immigrants they are willing to allow.
Republican lawmakers stated that a deal to allow illegal immigrants “Dreamers” to obtain citizenship could be achieved if they are accompanied by border security.
Activists say that this is not enough.
They see the opportunity to grant citizenship rights Dreamers, people here under Temporary Protected Status and “essential” workers. This pool could be anywhere from 6 million to 8 millions.
The House Judiciary Committee approved the version that did not include any border security or enforcement measures.
Haris Alic contributed to the article.