The Senate Parliamentarian’s opinion
The Senate Parliamentarian, also called Senate referee, is the official policy advisor to this branch of Congress. In other words, the Senate Parliamentarian is an impartial interpreter of Senate rules and parliamentary procedure.
That is why the Senate Parliamentarian has the right to give his/her opinion regarding certain proposals and bills, determining whether they follow Senate protocols or not.
The current Senate Parliamentarian is Elizabeth MacDonough, a former immigration attorney who has served in the position since 2012.
It is worth mentioning that, according to the opinion of several experts on the subject, the Senate Parliamentarian’s rulings are a non-partisan opinion that seek to clarify Senate rules, but are not a final order or verdict.
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Senate Parliamentarian has already rejected two immigration proposals
The Senate Parliamentarian has already twice rejected the immigration language included by Democratic leaders in the most recent budget package, which has generated a huge controversy within Congress.
Initially, Democratic leaders proposed opening a path to citizenship for immigrants residing in the US undocumented through the budget reconciliation process. However, the Senate Parliamentarian stated that this proposal did not qualify as a budget issue.
Following this ruling, Democratic leaders modified the immigration language in the spending bill, proposing to update the Registry provision to offer lawful permanent residency to eligible undocumented immigrants. The Senate Parliamentarian also rejected this proposal.
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Senate Parliamentarian has yet to weigh in on third immigration proposal
The Senate Parliamentarian has yet to weigh in on the Democratic leaders’ Plan C, which proposes to expand their parole power to grant employment permits and temporary amnesty to approximately 6-8 million undocumented immigrants.
Under this proposal, eligible undocumented foreigners, who are essential workers in all kinds of local market sectors, would be eligible for a 5-year permit (with the possibility of extension), provided they have resided in the US since or before 2011.
Democratic leaders and immigrant rights advocates are patiently awaiting the Senate Parliamentarian’s verdict on this proposal, which could pave the way for immigration reform.
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