Democrats draw immigrants’ ire after watering down amnesty provisions in budget bill
House Democrats have dropped plans to provide an extensive amnesty to illegal immigrants in Wednesday’s budget proposal. Instead, they called for a more tentative legal status that would prevent illegal immigrants from being deported but not give them a path to citizenship.
The move, which lawmakers had been hinting about, drew protests from immigrant rights activists who called it a betrayal to the promises President Biden had made.
Under this plan, illegal immigrants who arrived prior to 2011 will be granted “parole,” which gives them the right to stay in the country for up five years. They will also be allowed to apply for work permits, travel authorizations, and the chance to get the coveted REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses.
This is similar to DACA that exists for illegal immigrants “Dreamers .”
While millions of illegal immigrants will have a safer foothold, they won’t have a new path to citizenship, unlike the Dreamers. However, those with citizen relatives could change their status based upon these ties.
Activists claimed they were promised full citizenship and that illegal immigrants have earned it through holding down jobs during the coronavirus pandemic.
” After four years of suffering the most anti-immigrant president in recent history, and who sought out cruel and new ways to terrorize families and tear them apart, immigrants deserve more than the temporary and half-measures offered by this bill,” stated Murad Awawdeh (executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition).
United Farm Workers, however, is another important voice in the immigration debate. They called the tentative status “real and tangible relief” for illegal immigrants. UFW supported the new proposal.
Democrats have described the watered down version as the best they could do under the rules of Congress.
To avoid a GOP-led filibuster they are adding the immigration language to their $1. 75 trillion budget bill. However, the budget rules allow only provisions that are centered on fiscal matters. Senator parliamentarians have concluded that citizenship rights are too broad to be included in the rules.
Activists criticized the decision of the parliamentarian and called it advisory. They want Democrats to ignore the ruling and to use their control over the chamber to declare that immigration is allowed within the budget.
This would allow for a broader amnesty, but it would also end the tradition of deferring the parliamentarian and deepen the already ugly political divisions on Capitol Hill.
The House Democrats’ bill retains provisions that would greatly increase legal immigration.