Immigrant advocates launch ‘Path to Citizenship in Five Steps’

A coalition of immigrant advocacy groups on Friday published a memo describing the steps for Democrats in Congress to use the budget reconciliation process to provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

The 19-page memorandum calls on Democrats to proactively use the Senate’s complex rules to their advantage to incorporate a comprehensive immigrant protection program. President BidenJoe BidenHouse sets Friday’s voting for Biden’s agenda. House leaders make a last-minute change to drug prices after the dispute aide who traveled with Biden to Europe tests positive for COVID-19: inform MOREBuild Back Better Bill.

“Our elected leaders have for years promised to secure a path to citizenship, and this memo demonstrates how Senate Democrats can use their existing authority under Senate rules to fulfill that promise,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Center for Immigration Laws. (NILC), one of the groups that published the memo.

The UndocuBlack Network, the Immigrant Human Rights Coalition (CHIRLA), and the National Korean American Education and Service Consortium (NAKASEC) joined NILC in publishing the memo.

While most of the procedural hurdles outlined in the memo are Senate-related, for the strategy to work, the House must first include broader immigration provisions than are currently in the bill.

According to the memo, the House must pass a bill with provisions to open up eligibility for permanent residence to undocumented immigrants to avoid inconvenience once the bill reaches the Senate.

“It is always more difficult to remove something from a bill than to add it, so House Democrats need to make sure the path to citizenship is already in the budget bill when it reaches the Senate.” read in the memo.

But the current House bill, which the Democratic leadership hopes to vote on Friday, does not include those provisions, instead opting to grant parole without permanent residence to millions of undocumented immigrants.

A trio of House Democrats, Representatives Jesús García (Ill.), Adriano EspaillatAdriano de Jesus Espaillat Cabral Immigration Resisters Make One Last Effort to Obtain Green Cards in Reconciliation Hispanic Democrats Disagree with Immigration as Agreement Closes House Progressives Call on Biden to End to all new fossil fuels that allow MORE (NY) and Lou CorreaJose (Lou) Luis CorreaHouse Sets Friday Voting For Biden Agenda Immigration Bailouts Make One Last Effort To Obtain Green Cards In Reconciliation Hispanic Democrats Disagree With Immigration As Deal Nears MORE (California), have been working to convince moderate Democrats to sign a permanent residence plan, which would change the registration date to allow undocumented immigrants to change their status, essentially a statute of limitations for undocumented immigrants.

Still, the bill has not been put to a vote due to resistance, unrelated to immigration, from a group of moderates who want to see a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score on the entire bill. before committing to vote on it.

The CBO’s late-breaking drama has drawn the attention of leaders and moderates as Garcia, Espaillat and Correa hoped to bring the benefits of their registration plan to the fore before the House vote.

Assuming a last-minute change in the language before the House vote, the memo describes the process by which Senate Democrats could use House rules to keep the language of permanent residence in the bill.

The Senate MP, an unelected official who issues advisory opinions on the Senate procedure, has twice spoken out against the compatibility of the permanent residence provisions with the reconciliation process.

The conciliation process allows a simple majority to pass a budget bill avoiding the possibility of obstructionism.

In this case, Democrats are looking to stack a number of social spending priorities on the bill, including immigration, which will require the support of all senators in their group to pass.

While at least one Democratic senator, Joe manchinJoe ManchinHouse Sets Friday Voting For Biden Agenda Progressives Declare Victory In Fight Against Haaland Spending Bill – Reconciliation Bill Will Pass But May ‘Take A Little Longer’ MORE West Virginia, has said it will not vote to override the MP, the groups signing the memorandum are proposing a process that technically does not override the official’s advice.

“Green cards in the Build Back Better reconciliation bill are possible and this carefully scrutinized memorandum proves it. Another election cycle cannot begin with our communities unable to ensure stability and certainty through legal permanent residence.” said Patrice Lawrence, CEO of the UndocuBlack Network.

According to the memorandum, the president of the Senate is ultimately responsible for rulings about what can and cannot be included in a reconciliation bill.

Still, the memo acknowledges that immigration provisions could be removed or invalidated through amendments, and that all Democrats must agree to the strategy for the final bill to pass with those provisions included.

“There is no way around this: At the end of the day, we need all 50 Senate Democrats plus the vice president to agree to this strategy, and we need their votes to defeat the bad amendments and win final approval,” the memo reads.

The risk of not following the steps outlined in the memo, its writers say, outweighs the procedural dispute it proposes.

“As this powerful memorandum makes very clear, any attempt to hide behind the unelected Senate MP or to engage in a procedural ruse is nothing more than an attempt to avoid responsibility for the promises made to our immigrant communities,” said Angelica Salas, executive director of CHIRLA.

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