Affected individuals and their allies are reacting to the Senate parliamentarian’s latest opinion opposing citizenship for immigrants with a clear message: Democrats need to find a way to use their power to deliver on the immigration reforms they promised. Meanwhile, key experts and outside voices are highlighting the potential political costs in the midterms if Democrats fail to deliver on their promises on immigration and other priority issues.
See below for a roundup.
Democrats Need to Use Their Power to Deliver on Immigration
- Bruna Sollod, Communications Director for United We Dream and a DACA recipient: “The question right now is what’s the Democratic Party? Are they the party of citizenship or are they the party that will continue to deny citizenship for millions of immigrants?”
- Elvia Diaz in her Arizona Republic column: “Immigrants are left to keep working in the shadows to keep this country functioning. And they should be grateful because the Democrats are ‘gonna keep trying?’ What a bunch of cowards. If Democrats had any guts they would ignore the parliamentarian and push for immigration reform anyway. ‘Keep trying’ is just a cowardly way of telling Latinos in general and immigrants in particular that they aren’t worth the trouble…no more excuses, Democrats.”
- Angelica Salas, Executive Director of CHIRLA: “We will not leave the table without delivering for our community this year. Congress will be hearing from our communities until we get to a YES. Democrats in Congress are in charge and the parliamentarian is not an elected official nor can she have the last word.”
- Becky Belcore, Executive Director of NAKASEC: “The Asian immigrant community is clear: Vice President Harris and Democrats, you must uphold your promises. We will not be ignored. We are committed to making sure you hear — and listen to — our voices.”
- Teresa Romero, President of United Farm Workers: “We are not strangers to ‘No’ on our path to ‘Sí, Se Puede.’ We expect Congress to keep working and we expect them to deliver legalization for millions of people this year. We demand they use every ounce of their power to deliver on the promises that got them elected.”
- Lorella Praeli, Co-President of Community Change Action: “We refuse to walk away empty-handed. Our families have chosen this country. It is long past time for this country to choose us.”
- Lawrence Benito, Executive Director of ICIRR Action and FIRM Action co-chair: “The Vice President has a duty to disregard the parliamentarian’s ruling today to make a campaign promise a reality. I was in the room when she promised FIRM Action to fight with us for citizenship and the moment is here. Democrats have a moral obligation to follow through on their promise of passing permanent protections for undocumented immigrants in the form of a pathway to citizenship this year. Our communities can’t wait and we won’t back down until they deliver.”
- Rebecca Shi, Executive Director of the American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC): “American voters are much smarter than the professional politicians. With the Senate parliamentarian rejecting a second option to allow immigration provisions in the budget bill, Congress must not use a legislative officer as an excuse for doing nothing.”
- Gustavo Torres, Executive Director of CASA: “Not only does Congress have a precedent of ignoring parliamentary advice, but especially now it is urgent Senate Leader Chuck Schumer and Vice President Kamala Harris do so. The Parliamentarian is an unelected public servant who offered flawed reasoning and consideration of inappropriate political factors. Vice President Harris must ignore this faulty assessment and embrace the bold decisions she promised during the elections. Senate Democrats must deliver for immigrants by any means necessary.”
- Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director for Voces de la Frontera: “Democrats cannot hide behind the parliamentarian. They – not the parliamentarian – were elected to lead this country and deliver on the promise of immigration reform … This is the moment for escalating public pressure on Democrats in Congress and Vice President Harris. Our country cannot run without the backbreaking labor that immigrant essential workers, Dreamers, TPS holders and farmworkers do everyday to keep our country safe and fed.”
- Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director of the NYIC Action and Co-Chair of FIRM Action: “We elected President Biden, Vice President Harris and Democrats into the majority to deliver on years worth of promises. It is unacceptable that a Senate staffer — an unelected staffer — could derail years of hard work by our movement to win citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants. This isn’t about her — it’s about the lives impacted, those who are in limbo waiting for the country they call home to welcome them. We won’t walk away empty handed. We’re going to continue to take direct action in the streets and through the halls of Congress until Democrats do their job.”
- Ana Maria Archila, Co-Executive Director of the Center for Popular Democracy: “The impact of following this advisory opinion cannot be overstated: our leaders would be letting an unelected parliamentarian deal a blow to the dreams and aspirations of millions of essential workers who have contributed their lives to our country and deserve a chance to live with their families without fear.”
- Yaritza Mendez, Co-Director of Organizing for Make The Road New York: “We are frankly OUTRAGED by the Senate parliamentarian’s most recent opinion—which is just that, an opinion.”
Political Consequences if Democrats Fail to Deliver
- Ron Brownstein in his latest column in The Atlantic: “The Senate filibuster looms as the biggest obstacle to the broadest range of Democratic priorities. Even if the party ultimately coalesces behind a robust reconciliation bill, failing to confront the filibuster guarantees that it will head into the 2022 midterm elections without the legislative progress Biden promised on issues as central to core Democratic constituencies as immigration, police reform, voting rights, gun control, raising the minimum wage, and safeguarding abortion and LGBTQ rights. That prospect is drawing stark warnings from groups that helped mobilize the massive turnout in 2020 that gave Democrats unified control of Washington in the first place.”
- AP/NORC polling finds only 60% of Democrats approve of Biden’s immigration policy: An AP article on Biden’s border policy references his low political standing more broadly on immigration: “Just 35% of Americans approve of Biden’s handling of immigration, down from 43% in April, when it was already one of Biden’s worst issues, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Immigration is a relative low point for Biden within his own party with just 60% of Democrats saying they approve.” Delivering progress on legislation is an essential part of driving these numbers higher.