Friday, March 1, 2024

New budget packages include pathway to citizenship for millions of people

Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget resolution package directs lawmakers to chart a pathway to citizenship for millions of people while investing in border security.

The bill includes about $107 billion for the Senate Judiciary Committee to spend, giving lawmaker a soft deadline of September 15th. The package doesn’t specify how many people or which groups would be covered by the legislation, instead directing the committee to provide “lawful permanent status for qualified immigrants.”

House Democrats have created a plan that would cover not only DREAMers, who brought to the U.S. as children, but also migrant farmworkers, essential workers during the pandemic, as well as those who already have Temporary Protected Status (TPS) after being unable to return to their countries. Overall, Democrats could make around 10 million people eligible for a path to citizenship which is almost all the 11 million people who would be affected by Biden’s bill which has stalled in Congress.

However, the Senate Judiciary members have made little progress when it comes to immigration. A proposal from GOP Senator John Cornyn (Texas) and Thom Tillis (N.C.) encouraged Democrats to seek a pathway to citizenship only for DREAMers who are already enrolled in DACA. It’s an offer that would benefit less than 700,000 people and excludes potential DACA recipients who were unable to access the program during the Trump administration, a number the Migration Policy Institute estimates is as high as 1.3 million additional people.

The Senate Judiciary Committee Chair, Dick Durbin, slammed the exclusion of the broader population, writing that “seeking to compel the deportation of hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients who are helping our nation’s economy recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic makes little sense.”