Dems bet their political chips on party-line immigration reform

The Senate MP, a former immigration attorney, heard arguments from Republican and Democratic officials on the Justice and Budget Committee, as well as Senate officials, on Friday. Meanwhile, the House Judiciary Committee is holding a serve on Monday on the matter.

The Democrats’ central argument to the MP is that offering green cards to certain undocumented immigrants would unlock them federal benefits, which would create budgetary implications that they say are an essential, direct and intended outcome . The Congressional Budget Office’s preliminary estimate suggests immigrant language in the party’s upcoming social spending bill would add $ 139.6 billion to the budget deficit over 10 years, Democratic advisors said.

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary and Budget Committees did not provide details on their arguments, although the GOP largely countered that the bill’s immigration reform plots are irrelevant and should not be continued with a simple majority vote in the Senate. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), a member of the Justice Committee, tweeted Friday that the Democrats “always fail at immigration reform” and “insist on pursuing partisan laws rather than bipartisan immigration reform.”

However, Democrats point to the GOP’s success with a 2005 reconciliation measure that included immigration regulations, such as the removal of a visa backlog, although immigration regulations were eventually abolished in the conference process.

Regarding the deficit hikes their proposal would bring, Senate Democrats often cite a report by the liberal Center for American Progress which found that offering citizenship to undocumented immigrants increased U.S. GDP by 1.5 trillion It would increase US dollars, create 400,000 jobs and increase wages by more than 10 years. In addition, offering green cards would increase recipients’ ongoing tax contributions and lead to higher processing fees.

“There are a lot of filings, there are a lot of fees coming into the federal government that need to be handled by federal officials … so we think it’s more than adequate,” said Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Who added with no contributions from Immigrants would be “California not the fifth largest economy in the world”.

If the MP agrees, the immigration rules discussed would apply to dreamers, holders of temporary protection status, farm workers and important workers during the pandemic.

Democratic aides have also tried to make it clear that their efforts are to create a path to legal status – not citizenship. But under existing U.S. immigration law, those who qualify to apply for green cards could apply for citizenship after five years if they meet certain requirements.

A verdict in favor of the Democrats is not a guarantee. Earlier this year, the MP rejected the party’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour as part of the reconciliation process. However, Democrats and immigrant advocates argue that the circumstances are different this time around, as the minimum wage isn’t just tied to the federal government while that is immigration law.

In interviews, Democratic lawmakers refused to indicate what their replacement plan would be if the parliamentarian decided against them on immigration or whether they would support a vote to overrule them. However, the lawmakers involved in the discussions have already made it clear that they want to challenge MPs’ decision if it gives evidence that the Democrats have failed to meet the standards to include a path to legal status in the package.

“We have a strategy of repeatedly going back to MP if there is a disagreement with the first proposal,” said MP Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.), Chairman of the Hispanic Caucus of Congress, who underlined that Democrats considered this “possibly the only viable route this congress [has] to make it. “

The Democrats have been planning their reconciliation strategy for months. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told members of the Hispanic caucus back in February that Democrats would be considering the option and he recently met with them again to discuss the game plan, lawmakers and advisors associated with the meeting said are familiar.

Biden and White House officials publicly support the effort. Biden first expressed his willingness in April to be more proactive in advocating the economic benefits of immigration.

External groups such as the Service Employees International Union have also coordinated their strategy with Hill.

The union’s president, Mary Kay Henry, said the Senators are “very clear on the need to get this path to citizenship than I’ve ever heard in my life,” and was optimistic that “the MP with the arguments that she needs so that the paths can be reconciled. “

And after months of discussions with the White House and the Democratic leadership on the hill, immigrant advocates are confident that the coordination and the unified message will prevail.

“This really feels like our big moment and our best moment because of all the work we’ve done. … It’s long overdue, ”said Alida Garcia, a former senior migration adviser to Biden and vice president of advocacy at FWD.us. “At the moment things are going on at full speed.”

Laura Barrón-López contributed to this report.

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