House approves immigration provisions in budget package
On Friday, November 19, with a total of 220 votes in favor and 213 against, the US House of Representatives approved Biden’s social spending bill, which, among many other things, includes several immigration provisions.
After an hours-long debate, which had been adjourned last week, the House gave the green light for Biden’s spending bill to become law, handing an unprecedented victory to his administration and opening the first path to immigration reform in 35 years.
Within the budget package, called the ‘Build Back Better’ agenda, one of the proposals that generated the most controversy within the House of Representatives was the expansion of the parole power to offer temporary protection from deportation to approximately 7 million undocumented immigrants.
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Biden’s spending bill must now face the Senate
Now that the House has passed Biden’s spending bill, it must face scrutiny and debate in the Senate. However, the Biden administration looks like it may have an advantage in the upper house of Congress.
This is because the budget package was introduced through the reconciliation process, which would allow Democratic leaders to pass this spending bill in the Senate with only 51 votes, thus avoiding the Republican filibuster.
However, it is important to remember that the Senate Parliamentarian has yet to weigh in on the modified immigration provisions within Biden’s budget package.
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Although scaled back, immigration provisions in the spending bill are remarkable
Initially, Democratic leaders proposed to provide a path to citizenship for approximately 11 million immigrants currently residing in the US undocumented.
However, the Senate Parliamentarian rejected this immigration language, as well as the Democrats’ second proposal, stating that it does not meet the mandatory requirements to be a budget item.
Thus, although the current immigration provisions in the spending package are quite small compared to the initial ones, they still represent a tremendous step forward for the Biden administration and the immigration sector in general.
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What does it mean for immigrants if this bill becomes law?
Naturally and predictably, immigrant communities are celebrating the House’s decision, especially after four years in which the Trump administration tried to limit and restrict immigration at all costs.
It is worth clarifying that the immigration section in Biden’s budget package not only seeks to benefit certain undocumented immigrants, but also proposes to improve and streamline legal immigration processes to simplify access to the local immigration system, which is undoubtedly a benefit to all foreign populations.
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