Democrats blocked from including immigration reform in the party-line spending bill. The Senate parliamentarian on Sunday rejected Democrats’ push to include a pathway to legal status in their social spending plan, a blow to the party’s efforts to enact immigration reform.
“Our economy depends more than ever on immigrants,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. “Despite putting their lives on the line during the pandemic and paying their fair share of taxes, they remain locked out of the federal assistance that served as a lifeline for so many families. We will continue fighting to pursue the best path forward to grant them the ability to obtain lawful status.” Schumer’s remarks were echoed by Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.).
A White House spokesperson reiterated that President Joe Biden “supports efforts by Congress to include a pathway to citizenship in the reconciliation package and is grateful to Congressional leadership for all of the work they are doing to make this a reality. ”
With bipartisan talks stalled, Democrats widely viewed the social spending package — set to advance through the so-called budget reconciliation process that allows Democrats to sidestep a filibuster — as their best chance to enact immigration reform. Congressional leaders have several alternative proposals and should immediately put them before the parliamentarian; hitting a roadblock the first time is nothing new in the push for immigration reform. The need for pathways to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS and DED recipients, farm workers and essential workers is still vital from both a moral perspective, and a pragmatic one: reforms will have a direct budget impact and would yield $1.5 trillion over ten years in economic growth. There is also a continued need to address visa backlogs and bring our immigration system into this century.
Democrats vowed to continue this battle for sensible immigration reform, urging Congressional members to update our immigration laws. Immigration reform is hard. But it’s not dead.