The slim Democratic majority in Congress has an ambitious plan to legalize 8 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. through a budget bill. This bill would bypass the 60-vote threshold that is typically required to pass major legislation at the Senate.
Democratic staff met Friday with Senator parliamentarian to attempt to persuade her that the huge legalization program could be passed through the budget reconciliation procedure. This process allows spending bills to pass with a simple majority in the Senate, according to congressional officials. The proposal was expected to be opposed by the Republican staff.
The Senate parliamentarian decides whether a particular piece of legislation is allowed to be included in a budget bill. It is up to the parliamentarian to decide if the provision will have a direct impact on the budget.
If the plan is approved, it would permit undocumented immigrant children who arrived in the U.S. to be legalized.
Democratic staff said that their proposal is in compliance with reconciliation rules. The Senate parlamentar determined that certain provisions would have an “incidental effect” on the budget. These included a proposal to increase the minimum wage for February.
” We believe passing reconciliation legislation is possible because it has substantial, direct, and intended results. The non-budgetary consequences are not so outweighed by the budgetary benefits as to be merely incidental,” an aide stated.
According to Democratic aides the bill would permit immigrants to apply to permanent residence, which would make them eligible for federal benefits like Medicaid, Affordable Care Act healthcare subsidies and Supplemental Security Income (SNAP) or food stamps.
The Congressional Budget Office’s preliminary estimate predicts that this would increase budget deficits by $139.6 billion over a 10-year period, the aides said. The aides said that this would have a significant and direct impact on the budget.
The Democrats’ argument does not reflect the “huge boost” they feel the legalization program would give the U.S., as the aides pointed out.
The Democrats’ argument, the aides noted, does not include the “huge” boost they believe legalization will give to America’s economy.
Democratic congressman Raul Ruiz said that “this is it” to allow millions of illegal immigrants to become citizens of the United States. He emphasized their contribution to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
” The urgency of the situation has increased in the light of the pandemic, and the fact that Dreamers, farmworkers, and other essential workers have contributed significantly to our safety and survival, while also taking the brunt of deaths and hospitalizations,” Ruiz (a California Democrat) told CBS News.
Congressional officials said they could receive a decision from the Senate parliamentarian as early as next week. Ruiz stated that if the initial bid fails, Democrats would present another case to the senator to support legalization.
Even if the parliamentarian agrees, it is likely that the Democrats’ legalization plan will not be supported by the congressional Republicans who denounce it as “amnesty.”
Republican staffers at Congress stated that a massive legalization program would increase unemployment and create fraudulent applications for green cards. The Democrats were also criticised for proposing legalization of undocumented immigrant in the face of a 21-year-high number of migrant apprehensions at the U.S. – Mexico border.
“Democrats can’t pass mass amnesty by regular order in Senate because of the filibuster. So they are trying to avoid the need for Cloture and using the reconciliation process in an attempt to enact largest mass amnesty ever in history.” The Republican outline stated.
Democrats believe that historical precedent favors them, and cite a 2005 reconciliation bill which would have allowed immigrants to obtain more green cards. Although the final bill didn’t include the provision, the Republican-led Senate approved the amendment with the greencard increase.
During a call on Thursday with journalists, Senate Democratic aides acknowledged that legalization would create a huge operation for Department of Homeland Security. This agency reviews applications for green cards.
” “It will take a lot of effort to process potential millions of applications,” an aide stated.