Senate Parliamentarian to Hear Arguments on Pathway to Citizenship

Senate Parliamentarian to review option to include immigration in budget package

Biden tries to promote immigration reform

The Biden administration is close to exhausting the tools at its disposal to promote immigration reform in Congress.

To understand the issue at hand, it is important to explain that, in order to pass certain proposals into law, the US government needs Congressional support.

However, at this point in time, it is highly unlikely that the Biden administration will get bipartisan support from both branches of Congress, the House of Representatives and the Senate, to carry out a profound transformation of the immigration system, especially considering that the country is experiencing a rather alarming surge of illegal border crossings.

Therefore, as one of the last resorts, the Biden administration included an immigration resolution in the 2022 budget package, which is currently under Congressional review and could be passed through the reconciliation process.

The budget reconciliation process is the means for Democratic leaders to circumvent the Republican filibuster by obtaining only 51 votes in the Senate, the upper chamber of Congress.

If that happens, Biden’s immigration resolution would allow his administration to open a path to legalization for millions of undocumented foreigners, especially essential workers.

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Senate Parliamentarian to review option to include immigration in budget package

The future of Biden’s immigration reform could be in the hands of the Senate Parliamentarian (Elizabeth MacDonough – former immigration lawyer), who is supposed to hear the arguments to include a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the budget bill on Friday, September 10.

Democratic leaders must demonstrate to the Senate Parliamentarian that opening a path to citizenship for certain undocumented foreigners qualifies as a budget issue and not just a means to promote long overdue immigration reform.

At this point it is worth explaining that the immigration resolution in Biden’s budget package proposes to open a path to legalization for essential foreign workers who do not have legal documentation. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients known as Dreamers, who came to the US as children.
  • Beneficiaries of TPS (Temporary Protected Status), a deportation relief program.
  • Undocumented farmworkers.
  • Other essential foreign workers.

So far, it is uncertain what the Senate Parliamentarian’s decision will be on this issue.

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