tags: Press Releases

American Voters From Outside the Washington Bubble Voted for Democrats to Deliver on Their Promises

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When it comes to immigration, Democrats cannot hide behind the parliamentarian’s initial and misguided ruling

More voices are making a powerful case for why Democrats need to keep their promises and deliver on citizenship for millions, and not use the unelected Senate parliamentarian’s misguided ruling as an excuse for inaction.

Boston Globe column by Marcela García, “Democrats must not hide behind a procedural loss on immigration reform

“Democrats can still try to use budget reconciliation and introduce revised immigration reforms, which they’re expected to do. But another viable option for Democrats is to overrule MacDonough and push forward with immigration overhaul…

… ‘We believe that our proposal is permissible in budget reconciliation and we support their good-faith engagement with the parliamentarian’s ruling,’ said Lorella Praeli, co-president of Community Change Action and former director of Latino outreach for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, during a press call last week. ‘But Democrats do not get to hide behind the parliamentarian this year … They have the support of the majority of the American people. They have the White House, the Senate, and the House. They will not get brownie points or participation trophies for trying.’

During the same call, Greisa Martinez Rosas, executive director of United We Dream Action, said, ‘Majority leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, President Biden, and Vice President Harris hold all the power to do the right thing and deliver on their promises of citizenship for millions. They must remember that brave and powerful Black and brown advocates worked tirelessly to put them in their positions of power. It’s time for Democrats to show the same bravery.’

They could not have put it better. Democrats must show bravery; they can’t hide behind a procedural loss now … MacDonough’s nonbinding ruling must not be the end of the Democrats’ efforts to restructure our laws so that millions of immigrants can finally come out of the shadows permanently.”

In The Progressive, James Goodman writes, “A Pathway for Undocumented Immigrants Is Essential,” noting that, “A ‘no’ by an unelected Senate parliamentarian should not be the last word.” 

“Questions about why [Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth] MacDonough, an unelected official, should be allowed to decide the fate of millions of immigrants were raised repeatedly at a gathering of an estimated 10,000 immigrants and activists last week in Washington, D.C. Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar, a Democrat and refugee from Somalia, put it bluntly in her remarks at Tuesday’s rally near the Capitol. ‘Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and the White House have and can disregard the advice of the Parliamentarian—and they must,’ said Omar. ‘Our fight is on the right side of history.’

Illinois Representative Jesús G. ‘Chuy’ García, a Democrat and immigrant from Mexico, reminded the crowd that the struggle for legalization has gone on for far too long. ‘We can’t stop until we get a ‘yes,’’ he said. ‘This is not a moment to give up, but it is also a moment for leadership not to back down.’

The Immigrant Justice Week of Action, which ran from September 20 to the 23 and was organized by the We Are Home campaign, included Tuesday’s rally and concluded on Thursday with the “Communities Not Cages” National Day of Action in Washington, D.C., and twenty-three other sites across the nation. 

… Interviews conducted by The Progressive with other immigrants participating in the Week of Action underscore that the status quo is morally unacceptable. ‘If I have lived here for the past thirty-two years, and have paid taxes and am contributing to the city and given this society two college graduates, I shouldn’t be hiding from anybody,’ says Eduardo, a forty-seven-year-old construction worker from Mexico. 

…Jorge, an undocumented Mexican farmworker participating in the Week of Action, works in the vineyards of eastern Washington. Although a member of the United Farm Workers, he is at the mercy of the vineyards’ owner. Legalization would give him firmer footing to stand up for his rights. ‘We want to feel more of a part of society that doesn’t recognize us,’ says Jorge. The day he was interviewed, forty-eight-year-old Jorge told how he began that day at three in the morning and finished at 7 p.m.”

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “Outside of a few block radius around Capitol Hill, no one knows or cares about the Senate parliamentarian. The real democracy resides with the American people and Democratic voters. And the voters do care and voted for Democrats who promised life-changing legislation that enjoys strong support across the country and from across the political spectrum. This includes the popular and overdue promise to deliver citizenship for millions of immigrants who contribute to American families, communities and enterprises. 

The multiracial majority that elected Democrats is not going to understand or accept that the will of the majority and the support of Democrats in Congress was thwarted by a staff attorney’s inaccurate ruling. Whether through or around the Senate parliamentarian, Democrats need to deliver this year.”