Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, on Sunday, September 19, blocked the Democrats’ plan to authorize mass amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants within a budget package, arguing that the initiative is outside the scope of budget matters.
According to recent reports, Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough has ruled against the Democrats’ efforts to include deep immigration reform framed within their $3.5 trillion spending bill, dealing a major blow to the party that will most likely see its immigration amnesty intentions blocked.
MacDonough said the Democrats’ provision is “by any standard a broad, new immigration policy” and that it does not meet the stringent requirements of what can be included in the budget resolution.
“The policy changes of this proposal far outweigh the budgetary impact scored to it and it is not appropriate for inclusion in reconciliation,” she wrote, referring to the parliamentary procedure that allows certain budget bills to pass through the deliberative upper chamber with only a simple majority, altogether avoiding potential obstruction by opponents.
In early September, Democrats proposed including in their budget plan specific immigration reform measures that would grant amnesty to four groups totaling nearly 8 million illegal immigrants: so-called “Dreamers,” Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, agricultural workers, and essential workers, among others.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Sumer posted on his Twitter account his displeasure with MacDonough’s action, saying:
“We are deeply disappointed in this decision but the fight to provide lawful status for immigrants in budget reconciliation continues. We will continue fighting to pursue the best path forward to grant them the ability to obtain lawful status.”
For his part, Republican Opposition Leader Mitch McConnell, as he has done on other occasions, stated that the Democrats’ provision is “inappropriate and radical” and went on to say:
“Senate rules never contemplated a majority circumventing the filibuster by pretending that sweeping and transformational new policies were mere budgetary changes. Tonight’s ruling confirms that principle.”
In August, a budget resolution announcement submitted by Democrats revealed that amnesty would cost U.S. taxpayers no less than $107 billion, which ended up generating backlash within the opposition.
Since Democrats lack the number of votes needed to pass the plan using standard House and Senate rules, they were confident that MacDonough would approve the inclusion of amnesty in the reconciliation package.
Late last week, MacDonough heard arguments from Democrats about why amnesty should be included in a budget reconciliation package. These, evidently, did not convince the congresswoman who just blocked the Democrats’ attempt.
President Biden has supported the amnesty idea from the beginning, even saying in a public speech last week: “I strongly support giving Dreamers, TPS recipients, farmworkers, and essential workers the long-awaited pathway to citizenship they deserve.”
Critics say that behind the Democrats’ idea of granting amnesty is the intention to find a new, large voter base there.