Historic immigration reform included in the spending bill approved by the Chamber

The social spending bill passed by the House of Representatives on Friday in a 220-213 vote includes the most extensive immigration reform package reviewed by Congress in 35 years, albeit in a much smaller version than they originally sought. the proponents.

If the provision is approved by the Senate as-is, the immigration measure in the bill would allow undocumented individuals present in the U.S. From before 2011 up to 10 years of work authorization, without reaching the initial goal. to offer them a path to citizenship. .

The provision passed by the House offers a kind of exemption to immigration laws, using a process known as parole to allow people to stay in the country for five years with the option to extend it for another five years thereafter.

About 6.5 million people would directly benefit from the measure, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

According to that analysis, about three million of those people would be eligible to move from parole status to legal permanent residence, the first step toward citizenship.

Those status updates would be available to the immediate family members of US citizens, two million of whom are currently ineligible to apply for lawful permanent residence.

That loophole will likely be a boon for Democrats, who were targeted by grassroots immigration groups who accused House Democrats of making a half-hearted effort to legislate a path to citizenship.

Still, the immigration provisions fall short of the Democrats’ initial goal of providing a path to citizenship for the roughly 11 million undocumented people living in the U.S.

Rep. Veronica escobarVeronica Escobar Democrats call on Biden to sanction climate change taxpayers Progressives see vote on infrastructure next week Progressives win again: No vote on infrastructure Thursday MORE (D-Texas) lamented that the package was ultimately downgraded to protections through a decade of work authorization.

“While that is absolutely inappropriate, we have to cross the goal line. We have to. That would provide the ability for many of these incredible people to go to work every day without fear of retaliation and to be able to live without fear of deportation. And indeed, millions of them would allow them to take an important step towards stabilizing their situation, “he told reporters on Thursday.

“And hopefully, at some point, get them fully protected through a path to citizenship. It gives Congress more time so that we can fulfill our obligation and make sure we give them the path to the citizenship they deserve. “

The bill also includes visa recovery, preventing the loss of some 222,000 unused family visas and 157,000 employment-based visas that otherwise expired at the end of the last fiscal year. The measure will help retain immigration avenues for those abroad who often wait years to immigrate to the U.S.

The inclusion of immigration provisions has assumed a secondary role in the political struggle to create President BidenJoe BidenHouse Democrats push vote on social spending plan through Friday Fauci says all adults should ‘go get a boost’ Senate confirms Park Service director after years of sitting bosses MOREdistinctive legislative package, as Democrats have publicly squabbled over the bill’s front-line price.

The immigration provisions, while a relatively small item within the largest bill, are expected to increase deficits by about $ 111 billion over the next decade, according to the CBO analysis.

While the immigration debate was a minor issue through negotiations for the Build Back Better bill, as the spending proposal is known, it pitted Democrats and immigration advocates behind closed doors.

Advocates often criticized Democrats for showing a lack of interest in an issue that is personal to millions of US citizens and foreigners in the country.

At the center of that friction was the debate over whether Democrats should push a path to citizenship in the BBB bill, or settle for parole, just a temporary respite from immigration enforcement for millions of immigrants. .

Three House Democrats, Representatives Jesús García (Ill.), Adriano EspaillatAdriano de Jesus Espaillat Cabral Immigrant Advocates Post ‘Path to Citizenship in Five Steps’ Immigration Reducers Make Last Effort to Get Green Cards in Reconciliation Hispanic Democrats Disagree with Immigration as Deal Closes MORE (NY) and Lou CorreaJose (Lou) Luis Correa Immigrant Advocates Publish ‘Road to Citizenship in Five Steps’ Chamber Sets Friday Voting for Biden’s Agenda Immigration Redoubts Make One Last Effort to Obtain Green Cards in Reconciliation MORE (California) became known as “the three friends” for their threat to withhold their votes for the final bill unless immigration provisions were included.

All three later campaigned to include permanent residency instead of parole in the bill, but those efforts failed when the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) failed to rally behind their cause.

“This is a good first step forward that allows our constituents to breathe. This landmark legislation includes work authorizations and protection against deportation for more than 7 million people, “the three friends said in a joint statement after the bill was passed.

“Make no mistake, while this is the most transformative policy our communities have seen in more than three decades, there is much work to be done in our efforts to secure a path to citizenship,” they added.

The central issue that dragged on for weeks, and remains unresolved, was the Senate MP’s advisory opinion on what could and could not be included in a reconciliation bill, which is limited to budget lines.

The bill passed by the House will now go to the Senate under reconciliation rules in an effort to circumvent Republican obstructionism and pass the package with only Democratic support.

The MP, an unelected official who advises on Senate rules, warned that the first two Democratic immigration proposals were incompatible with reconciliation, warning that they went beyond budget shock and represented a substantial change in policy.

Those two proposals would have granted the possibility of permanent legal residence, also known as green cards, to millions of foreign citizens, including undocumented immigrants.

The first proposal was innovative because it made available to specific groups of undocumented immigrants and other foreigners, in this case the so-called “Dreamers”, beneficiaries of the Temporary Protected Status program, essential workers and agricultural workers.

The second proposal rejected by the MP revived a provision of the immigration law that has been dormant since the Reagan administration, which allows Congress to change the registration date that prohibits certain immigrants from adjusting their status, essentially enacting a statute of limitations for immigrants. long lasting.

The MP’s ruling against that proposal surprised the five Senate Democrats who led the way on immigration: Sens. Dick durbinDick Durbin Standoff scraps a quick deal on Senate defense bill before Thanksgiving The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by ExxonMobil – House Democrats expect big vote on Biden’s measure Democrats struggle to figure out the closing strategy MORE (Ill.), Bob Menendez (NJ), Alex padillaAlex Padilla Democrats step up filibuster talks after voting rights setback House outlines immigration provisions in latest Build Back package Better Schumer hints at filibuster reform after GOP blocked voting rights bill PLUS (California), Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez Masto America’s clean energy future can’t stop at state lines Republican primary struggles intensify after Trump endorsement Sununu’s departure underscores the GOP’s uncertain path to winning a Senate majority PLUS (Nev.) And Ben ray lujanBen Ray LujanHouse Outlines Immigration Provisions In Latest Build Back Better Paul, Booker Introduces Bill To End FDA Animal Testing Mandates Democrats Urge CTOs To Fight Misinformation In Spanish MORE (NM) – due to the historical precedent of the registration proposal.

A third proposal, the parole option included in the House bill, has yet to be presented to the MP.

Grassroots groups and the three friends explicitly asked the House to send the registration proposal to the Senate, giving the five Senate Democrats a stronger bargaining position, but that view was overruled by Democratic leaders and more advocacy groups. close to party politics.

“We should try to do the best we can, push as hard as we can, we shouldn’t be negotiating against ourselves,” Correa previously told The Hill.

While the loophole in the House version could quell some of the tensions between Democrats and grassroots immigration advocates, a repeal by the MP could quickly reignite those flames.

Updated at 10:18 am


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