Months ago, Senate Democrats let MP Elizabeth MacDonough kill her chance of a $ 15 minimum wage. When MacDonough, the unelected staffer who interprets the Chamber’s rules, decided that a plan to incrementally increase the minimum wage was inconsistent with Senate rules, the Democrats could have ignored the non-binding opinion or fired her for getting in the way of their agenda was standing. as the Republicans have done in the past. Instead, they didn’t do anything about it. Now that the party is rushing to pass its social spending bill, the Democrats are again hiding behind the MP. This time, they could miss their last chance to provide shelter for undocumented immigrants, a promise they have been advocating for decades.
MacDonough has already decided against two separate proposals to provide permanent residency for millions of people. She called the plan “inadequate” for reconciliation, the mysterious budget process Democrats use to pass their $ 1.75 trillion social spending bill. MacDonough’s position lends a patina of neutrality, but in her case a former deportation attorney has the power to determine the fate of millions of undocumented immigrants. MacDonough was previously a trial attorney for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, a job dealing with deportation cases, as reported by the online news collective Latino Rebels this week.
“Well, that’s the first thing I hear,” Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said when asked about the MP’s record. “But I trust that the parliamentarian will do her job independently and objectively.” Sanders added that he had “had a lot of disagreements” with MacDonough, including about the minimum wage. “I think there is an absolute conflict of interest,” said New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez The nation. “She should have been dismissed in those judgments, and I still think she should have been dismissed.” Activist groups such as RAICES Texas have also expressed concern about MacDonough’s past, saying that she “cannot be trusted to make objective decisions on immigration issues.”
At least three congressmen – Adriano Espaillat from New York, Chuy García from Illinois and Lou Correa from California – signaled that they would not support a reconciliation law without immigration reform. The Democrats initially attempted to provide an estimated 8 million undocumented immigrants with a route to permanent residence through the law, focusing on those falling into four categories: those granted temporary protection status, those identified as ” important workers ”are considered farm workers and dreamers. After a second proposal was also rejected, the Democrats began working on a Plan C.
“I don’t want to do this through the MP,” said Hawaiian Senator Brian Schatz. “I think the problem is that as an institution we have become entangled with rules that make it very difficult to function. If we don’t like a parliamentarian’s decision, we just have to raise a majority to change the rule. ”
The Democrats’ social spending package, which accompanies a smaller infrastructure bill drafted by lobbyists, is widely seen as their last chance to sensibly tackle climate change, implement crucial measures to reduce poverty and relieve immigrants. But the democratic leadership was not as ready as the GOP to do whatever was necessary to pass laws that reflected the party’s priorities. At least 40 Democrats in the House of Representatives, including MPs Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Pramila Jayapal, who leads the Progressive Caucus, and immigration rights groups are calling on top Senate Democrats to disregard the immigration reform ruling.
“By denying any avenue to citizenship or Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) status, the MP, an unelected official, is denying the economic impact of such legislation and the tributes that millions of undocumented people have paid to this country” , Legislators wrote to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer late last month.
Rico Ocampo, an organizer for the Make the Road Nevada activist group and a DACA recipient, said The nation that failure to include a path to citizenship in the Social Expenditure Act would “expose the failed promises Democrats have shared with the undocumented community over the past two decades.”
“We have over 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, many of whom kept this country afloat during the pandemic,” Ocampo said. “Many of these undocumented immigrants were able to help organize their family members for the 2020 elections.”
Although the two Democratic rejections to reconciliation did not speak out against certain provisions, one of them, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, told the Latino Rebels in October that he believed the immigration reform was “too big” to do to be included in the law. “I don’t think it will be in there. I really don’t, ”he said. “I think it’s too big for that.”