Recently, the Senate Parliamentarian stated that legislators are not able to include a pathway to citizenship for numerous illegal migrants in a budget reconciliation package.
In response, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) began pressuring the Senate, as well as the Biden administration, to ram through the package with the pathway in question anyway.
Elizabeth MacDonough, who serves as the Senate Parliamentarian, concluded on Sunday that the pathway to citizenship provision falls well outside of the scope of which elements are permitted in a reconciliation bill. This determination is especially important since the Senate can pass reconciliation bills with merely a simple majority, as such bills are not subjected to filibustering.
However, Omar proclaimed that MacDonough’s finding “is only a recommendation,” which the Biden administration and the Senate “can and should ignore.”
“We can’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to do the right thing,” Omar proclaimed.
However, MacDonough stated that the pathway to citizenship promulgated by Omar comprises “a policy change that substantially outweighs the budgetary impact of that change.” Moreover, MacDonough also remarked that this proposal would increase the deficit by approximately $140B in the next decade.
In addition, MacDonough also pointed out that if provisions granting new immigration status can be achieved through the reconciliation process, then the same approach could be taken for stripping immigration status in the future.
“[Allowing] this provision in reconciliation would set a precedent that could be used to argue that rescinding any immigration status from anyone … would be permissible,” MacDonough warned.
While the Biden administration has presumably taken MacDonough’s recommendation seriously, they continue to promote the Senate’s efforts to include immigration measures in the reconciliation bill.
The White House released a statement on immigration, noting that Biden “has made it very clear” that he wants the House to provide pathways to citizenship in the proposed reconciliation passage, and he remains “grateful” to Congress for attempting to turn these provisions into a reality.
The Biden administration also remarked that MacDonough’s recommendation “is deeply disappointing,” though they anticipate the Senate’s development of “alternative proposals” for MacDonough to consider.
Chuck Schumer also remarked that he was “deeply disappointed” by the findings of the Senate Parliamentarian, but that “alternative proposals” are in the works, with “additional meetings” held with the Senate Parliamentarian in the upcoming days.