Thursday, September 16, 2021

Hundreds of local officials call for immigration to be included in new reconciliation bill

Many local officials from all over the country called on Democratic leadership and President Biden to include immigration in the upcoming federal budget.

In a letter, the coalition of mayors, council members, local legislators, school board members and commissioners called for a path to citizenship for essential workers, DREAMers (DACA recipients), as well as Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries and their families. “Providing a path to citizenship for these individuals and their families not only recognizes the sacrifices they have made for all Americans over the past year, but also the important role they continue to play in America’s economic recovery and long-term global competitiveness,” said the officials’ letter.

Democrats and advocates estimate between 6 – 11 million people could be granted a path to citizenship in the bill, depending on how the legislation is written. Although the wording of the budget bill has not yet been finalized, Democrats are expected to include a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented people in their initial proposal.

The budget reconciliation rules prevent Republicans from blocking the package with a filibuster, meaning Democrats can win passage in the Senate just on Democratic votes if they stay united. The size of the budget bill, which progressives want it to be as high as $3.5 trillion, is hotly debated, and discussions on that point could drag other issues onto the negotiating table.

The Senate parliamentarian has not yet decided which immigration provisions are eligible to include in the budget bill. Democratic leaders are bracing for a multistep process in negotiating with the parliamentarian to convince her of the budgetary impact of granting immigration benefits. Meanwhile, groups like the local elected officials are pushing for Democratic leaders not to cede on immigration when negotiations on the budget heat up.

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