Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is apparently considering the use of a budget maneuver to help legalize millions of illegal immigrants if current bipartisan chats about providing a new pathway to citizenship for these individuals falls apart, according to new reports coming from the NY Times.
This strategy is part of Schumer’s backup plan should talks with the 15 senators from both political parties completely fall through and fail to reach a compromise on immigration.
As the negotiations drag on with little agreement in sight, proponents on the left are growing increasingly worried Democrats might squander a rare opportunity to legalize broad swaths of the undocumented population while their party controls both chambers of Congress and the White House.
Schumer has privately told members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in recent weeks he is “actively exploring” whether it would be possible to attach a broad revision of immigration laws to President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan and pass it through a process known as budget reconciliation, according to two people briefed on his comments, the Times reported.
“Democrats must act,” says Sergio Gonzales, the director of the Immigration Hub, which pushes for a pro-immigrant agenda in Congress. “Now is the time. This year is the time. We must have citizenship this year.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., last month endorsed the idea of using reconciliation to push through an immigration measure, citing the “budget impacts of immigration in our country.” Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the No. 3 Democrat, also came out in favor of the approach last week, the Times reported.
Republicans have stated that before Congress can tackle the issue of undocumented immigrants, something has to be done to end the border crisis.
Back in March, border agents actually encountered a staggering 19,000 children at the border, which is the largest number ever recorded in a single month, with most of them fleeing from all of the violence and poverty taking place in Central America, though the current numbers are continuing to go down.
“Before we can do anything meaningful on immigration, we’re going to have to deal with the current crisis at the border,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who has been participating in the bipartisan talks on this issue. “I don’t think the public is going to tolerate us ignoring this crisis, and it’s just going to get worse unless we deal with it.”
As for moving Schumer’s immigration agenda forward through reconciliation, the senator said, “I think they’re dreaming; I don’t think the parliamentarian will allow that. That’s not really the purpose of reconciliation.”
“The reconciliation move would allow the measures to pass the evenly divided Senate with 50 Democrat and independent votes, shielding them from a filibuster and the 60-vote threshold for moving past one, which would otherwise require at least 10 Republican votes. Vice President Kamala Harris would cast the 51st vote in the event of a 50-50 tie,” the Newsmax report said.
Let’s just secure the border and enforce the laws now on the books. That would solve everything.