Senate Democrats keep trying to find a way to legalize millions of illegal aliens in the reconciliation bill, but Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough keeps shooting them down.
There are limits to what a party can put in a reconciliation bill that, at its most basic, is a budget bill. What can go into a reconciliation is governed by the “Byrd Rule,” named after former Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd. The Byrd Rules makes anything “extraneous” that “doesn’t change the level of spending or revenues, or where the change in spending or revenues is ‘merely incidental’ to the provision’s non-budgetary effects,” according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The Democrats tried to insert a provision in the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package that would have changed the date of the “immigration registry.”
The immigration registry was created under the Registry Act of 1929, which created a process for immigrants to apply for a green card. Those who currently qualify for the registry must have maintained continuous presence in the United States and were of “good moral character” before January 1, 1972. Democrats presented a plan to the parliamentarian to change the immigration registry date to 2010.
According to FWD.US, 6.7 million people would be eligible for permanent residency if the registry date had been changed to 2010.
That number represents about half the illegal alien population in the country. And if we give Democrats some time, I’m sure they can find a way to legalize the other half as well.
While most Democrats believe the failure to get anything on immigration into the reconciliation bill is the end of the road for major immigration reform in the reconciliation bill, activists want Democrats to keep beating the dead horse in an effort to bring it back to life.
“We call on our Democratic champions to explore every option, from a new plan to legalize millions to ways to sidestep the parliamentarian’s advisory opinion,” Frank Sharry, executive director for America’s Voice, said in a statement. “Democrats are in the majority. They have the power to get this done. We beseech them to use every ounce of their power to deliver on their promise.”
Bruna Sollod, communication’s director for United We Dream, said that reconciliation is the top option for getting immigration reform passed, as Republicans aren’t coming to the table to work on bipartisan legislation. Sollard, who is a DACA recipient, noted that she wants to see Democrats continue to include immigration in the reconciliation package regardless of the parliamentarian’s rulings.
“The question right now is what’s the Democratic Party?” she said. “Are they the party of citizenship or are they the party that will continue to deny citizenship for millions of immigrants?”
The answer is they are a party that wants to survive. It’s one thing to try and legalize DREAMers who came to America as children. But wanting to legalize 6 or 7 million illegals would lose the Democrats votes in some key states.
Given that the current surge in refugees and illegals at our southern border will already add millions of people to the U.S., it’s just not good politics to throw open the gates for another 6 or 7 million people.