Another Immigration Reform Defeat


The Senate parliamentarian nixed the most recent ambition from Democrats to include immigration reform in the social spending bill

Why did yet another Immigration Reform proposal fail?

The Senate Parliamentarian said the immigration reform plan to let 6.5 million immigrants to apply for work permits and protection from deportation will not pass through the budget reconciliation process.

The budget reconciliation process allows bills to pass by a simple majority of senators. Democrats are using  the reconciliation process because it avoids a GOP filibuster. Budget reconciliation bills can pass the Senate by a simple majority of 51 votes, or 50 votes plus the VP’s. 

What is the Build Back Better Bill?

The House passed the social spending bill last month. The bill included a provision for work permits and temporary protection from removal for undocumented immigrants who were in the US before January 2011.  In her ruling, the parliamentarian specified that the provision did not comply with the chamber’s rules.

The Build Back Better bill is an extensive package which includes free preschool, climate change initiatives, and programs for affordable housing.  The House passed the legislation mid-November. 

What are the alternatives now?

The Democrats are now trying to figure out what options are left.  With immigration reform talks stalled, the social spending bill was the best chance to enact immigration reform. But the latest rejection of the efforts leaves the party with few alternatives.

If the provisions were to be accepted, that would have created about 6.5 million people eligible to be protected from removal and also able to obtain a work permit for a 5-year period.

The Senate parliamentarian nixed the proposal. Now Democrats cannot achieve legal status for the 6.5M individuals through the social spending bill.

Naturally, Chuck Schumer along with other Democrats stated that they “strongly disagree” and promised to use every means to realize a “path to citizenship.”


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