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Politics Senate parliamentarian rejects Democrats’ immigration bid

05:25  20 september  2021
05:25  20 september  2021 Source:   rollcall.com

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The parliamentarian decided that the immigration language could not be included in an immense bill that’s been shielded from GOP filibusters. Left vulnerable to those bill-killing delays, which require 60 Senate votes to defuse, the immigration provisions have virtually no chance in the 50-50 Senate . Democrats and their immigration allies have said they will offer alternative approaches to MacDonough that would open a doorway to permanent status to at least some immigrants . One such approach would be to update a “registry” date that allows some immigrants in the U.S. by that time to

The Senate parliamentarian rebuffed Democrats’ attempt to include immigration changes in a sprawling $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation measure, delivering a blow to efforts to create a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants for the first time in decades.

a close up of a sign: Dreamers and DACA supporters rally outside of the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2020. © Provided by Roll Call Dreamers and DACA supporters rally outside of the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2020.

In a Sunday night decision, Elizabeth MacDonough found the proposed provisions, which could have put millions of undocumented immigrants, including those brought to the U.S. as children, on a track to permanent residency, did not comply with Senate procedural rules governing the reconciliation process.

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The Senate parliamentarian on Sunday rejected Democrats ’ push to include a pathway to legal status in their social spending plan, a blow to the party’s efforts to enact immigration reform. In the decision, a copy of which was obtained by POLITICO, the parliamentarian determined that the Democrats ’ proposal is “by any That, in turn, would increase the deficit by more than 0 billion, according to Democratic estimates. But the parliamentarian in her ruling stated that providing legal status through reconciliation would also lead to “other, life-changing federal, state and societal benefits.”

New guidance from the Senate parliamentarian makes it unlikely Senate Democrats will be able to include immigration in their .5 trillion bill to expand the country's social safety net.

“The policy changes of this proposal far outweigh the budgetary impact scored to it and it is not

appropriate for inclusion in reconciliation,” MacDonough said in a copy of the decision obtained by CQ Roll Call.

The consequences of putting millions of people on a path to citizenship would go far beyond the narrow scope of the nation’s budget, MacDonough said.

Lawful permanent resident “status would give these persons freedom to work, freedom to travel, freedom to live openly in our society in any state in the nation, and to reunite with their families and it would make them eligible, in time, to apply for citizenship – things for which there is no federal fiscal equivalent,” she said. “Changing the law to clear the way to LPR status is tremendous and enduring policy change that dwarfs its budgetary impact.”

Senate parliamentarian deals blow to Dems' immigration push

  Senate parliamentarian deals blow to Dems' immigration push WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats can’t use their $3.5 trillion package bolstering social and climate programs for their plan to give millions of immigrants a chance to become citizens, the Senate’s parliamentarian said, a crushing blow to what was the party’s clearest pathway in years to attaining that long-sought goal. The decision by Elizabeth MacDonough, the Senate’s nonpartisan interpreter of its often enigmatic rules, is a damaging and disheartening setback for President Joe Biden, congressional Democrats and their allies in the pro-immigration and progressive communities.

The Senate Parliamentarian rejected the Democrats ’ effort to give illegals a pathway to citizenship because it would lead to “other, life-changing federal, state and societal benefits.” In their arguments before the Senate parliamentarian , a former immigration attorney, Democrats made the case that providing green cards to an estimated 8 million Dreamers, farmworkers, Temporary Protected Status recipients and essential workers during the pandemic had a budgetary impact because it would make more people eligible for certain federal benefits.

Other relative Democratic moderates, like the Arizona senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema, should want no part of hiding the worst comprehensive immigration bill yet among trillions of spending in what is supposed to be a purely budgetary measure. If Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough is doing her job, the immigration provisions will be struck as violations of the so-called Byrd rule, meant to keep reconciliation bills from becoming an end run around the filibuster for matters unrelated to taxing and spending. Until that happens, Republicans and supporters of a rational

Under what’s known as the “Byrd rule,” measures included in a reconciliation bill — which can pass with a simple majority — must directly affect the federal budget. Democrats made their initial pitch that the immigration changes had budgetary impact to MacDonough on Sept. 10.

However, the parliamentarian’s decision likely won’t end Democrats’ efforts to pass some sort of immigration relief through reconciliation, but rather will send them back to the drawing board.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer said as much in a statement, saying he was “deeply disappointed” by McDonough’s decision but “the fight to provide lawful status for immigrants in budget reconciliation continues.”

“Senate Democrats have prepared alternate proposals and will be holding additional meetings with the Senate parliamentarian in the coming days,” he said. “The American people understand that fixing our broken immigration system is a moral and economic imperative.”

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Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough has reportedly ruled that Democrats ’ plan to slip a massive amnesty for millions of illegal aliens into a budget reconciliation package is outside the scope of budgetary matters, likely crushing the plan. On Sunday evening, MacDonough ruled the amnesty plan can likely not be included in a budget reconciliation package — a filibuster-proof “Changing the law to clear the way to [lawful permanent resident] status is tremendous and enduring policy change that dwarfs its budgetary impact,” MacDonough wrote in her decision rejecting the amnesty’s inclusion.

Senate Democrats will direct the Judiciary Committee to determine how many undocumented immigrants could receive legal status based on the cost of processing claims and the impact on gross domestic product. Two aides cautioned that the 0 billion amount could change in the coming days. A source familiar with the process said that the parliamentarian may limit the "size and scope" of how many immigrants the bill would be able to reach but that Democrats are determined to cover at least some groups. Defining which workers qualify as "essential" is one sticking point as the lawmakers

Sens. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., and Alex Padilla, D-Calif., who have been spearheading their party’s efforts to include immigration provisions in the plan, said they were “deeply disappointed in the Parliamentarian’s decision, but the fight for immigration reform will continue.”

Other ways

With control of both chambers of Congress and the White House, the Democrats have a narrow window of opportunity to push through their policy priorities via reconciliation before the midterm elections.

One option under consideration, according to a person familiar with discussions, is to move up the date on the immigration registry, which the government has not been updated in decades and is currently set to 1972. This would allow immigrants who have been living in the U.S. since a revised date, and who have demonstrated “good moral character,” to become permanent residents.

“Should there be a concern about the package that we’ve put together, we have additional ways to structure the relief that we would then be able to present to her [MacDonough],” Rep. Zoe Lofgren, the California Democrat in charge of the Judiciary Committee’s immigration panel, told reporters earlier this month.

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Democrats had argued that the proposed immigration provisions, which would have allowed certain immigrants to apply for permanent residency after paying a $1,500 fee, fit within the parameters of its currently $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill because of the potential impact on the U.S. economy.

A study released earlier this year by the Center for American Progress and the University of California, Davis’ Global Migration Center found that allowing Dreamers, individuals with temporary humanitarian protections and undocumented essential workers to become permanent residents would increase the U.S. gross domestic product by a cumulative total of $1.7 trillion over 10 years and create more than 400,000 new jobs.

“Granting a pathway to citizenship for millions of aspiring Americans will bring expansive economic benefits to communities across the country — while having a significant impact on the federal budget — not only for the individuals directly affected, but for the larger systems — families, and the workforce — that they comprise,” dozens of economics wrote in a Sept. 9 letter to congressional leaders.

President Joe Biden has also backed the effort. The White House released a Sept. 17 blog post, authored by four top economists, arguing for the economic benefits of legalizing undocumented immigrants, including by allowing them more job mobility. And while legalizing immigrants may encourage them to use public benefits like Medicaid, the economists contended these costs would be offset by their higher tax contributions.

Democrats reject hardball tactics against Senate parliamentarian

  Democrats reject hardball tactics against Senate parliamentarian Democrats are rejecting calls to overrule the Senate parliamentarian despite the bleak reality that, absent a breakthrough, they likely won't be able to get a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants to President Biden's desk given her unfavorable ruling.Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough's decision that the immigration plan was "not appropriate" under the rules governing the $3.5 trillion spending bill dealt a significant blow to Democratic hopes of achieving meaningful immigration reform.

“Allowing currently unauthorized workers to engage fully in the labor force would not only benefit the immigrants and their families, but society as a whole,” they wrote.

Republicans, whose votes are not needed for a reconciliation bill to pass in the Democrat-controlled Congress, have squarely opposed the attempt to include legalization measures in such a bill.

Efforts to legalize some of the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S., a long time priority for Democrats, have support not only from immigrant advocates, but also from much of the business community, which has warned of labor shortages hindering a post-pandemic economic recovery.

The last time Congress passed legislation that allowed a broad population of undocumented immigrants to fix their statuses was in 1986 under the Reagan administration.

MacDonough’s determination marks the second time the Senate adviser has thwarted Democrats’ agenda on procedural grounds. Earlier this year, MacDonough said that Democrats could not include a minimum wage increase in their pandemic relief bill.

Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.

The post Senate parliamentarian rejects Democrats’ immigration bid appeared first on Roll Call.

Senate parliamentarian strains to block long overdue immigration reform .
Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth McDonough's stunning recent decision to disallow immigration proposals from the budget reconciliation bill made it abundantly clear how eager she was to get to "no," despite ample precedent and a strong rationale that would allow for the immigration proposal to be included in a reconciliation bill. There was a pathway to "yes" that was well-considered and legitimate. She chose the other path, and her argument shows that she had to work plenty hard to get there.

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