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Momentum Grows To Use Reconciliation To Pass Immigration Reform if Necessary

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Sen. Menendez: “All options are on the table for Democrats to deliver a path to citizenship”

Rep. Ruiz: “We will not wait and miss an opportunity to move forward with a pathway to citizenship for our workers… that includes a budget reconciliation” 

Pelosi, Schumer, Biden Have Previously Expressed Openness To Using the Legislative Procedure To Pass Immigration Bills Currently Blocked By GOP Obstruction

Washington, DC –  At virtual events hosted by leading immigrant advocates yesterday, key Congressional Democrats made it clear that they are prepared to use the reconciliation process to provide long overdue pathways to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants who call America home. 

These remarks are the latest signal that Democratic leaders are clear-eyed about Republicans’ repeated, bad-faith efforts to delay and scuttle reform. As the citizenship debate intensifies, Democrats are reserving the right to use every legislative tool necessary to overcome Republican obstruction.

Key excerpts from Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Rep. Raul Ruiz’s (D-CA) and Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D-NJ) remarks at the virtual event on Tuesday: 

Rep. Ruiz: “We are taking an all-of-the-above, any which way, approach to our strategy. And we will not wait and miss an opportunity to move forward with a pathway to citizenship for our workers, our farm workers, our Dreamers, TPS holders and for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in our country when we see that opportunity arise. And that includes a budget reconciliation to provide a pathway to citizenship. […] We are already working on the preparations so we are ready to advocate in this budget reconciliation process when that opportunity comes up. That will most likely be the vehicle in which we can get some of our immigration policies onto President Biden’s desk. ” [59:55]

Sen. Menendez: “The time has come for real and lasting immigration reform. […] I’m doing my best to engage with my colleagues. Right now we have a bipartisan dialog that is going on and that is important, but I’m under no illusions. I know that the Republicans of 2021 are not the same Republicans I worked with in 2013 to pass comprehensive immigation reform through the Senate with 68 votes. So let me be clear. If they fail to negotiate in good faith, if they are more interested in punishing immigrants than offering them a path to citizenship, well, all options are on the table for Democrats to deliver a path to citizenship.” [5:15


Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer: “Mr. Schumer has privately told members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in recent weeks that he is ‘actively exploring’ whether it would be possible to attach a broad revision of immigration laws to President Biden’s infrastructure plan and pass it through a process known as budget reconciliation, according to two people briefed on his comments.” [New York Times, 5/3/21]

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi last month endorsed the idea of using reconciliation to push through an immigration measure, citing the ‘budget impacts of immigration in our country.’ Senator Patty Murray of Washington, the No. 3 Democrat, came out in favor of the approach last week.” [New York Times, 5/3/21]

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Members (CHC): “During Tuesday’s meeting, members of the CHC asked for Biden’s ‘unequivocal support for immigration reforms to be included in the reconciliation package,’ said Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.). ‘He said he was committed to making those statements publicly.’ Biden said that he generally ‘supports passing certain immigration reforms by reconciliation if we can’t get the 10 Republican votes,’ Soto said after the meeting, referring to the number of GOP votes needed in the Senate to meet the 60-vote threshold required for most legislation. ‘And he would make a statement in the State of the Union.’” [Politico, 4/20/21]