This afternoon, the Senate parliamentarian will hear arguments from Democratic and Republican Senate staffers on the immigration provisions in the budget agreement. Yet many politicians and Beltway pundits predict that the immigration provisions will not make it into the final package. Below are reasons why we are confident that this is the year Congress will, and should, pass legislation providing pathways to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS holders, and farm workers and other essential workers:
- New pathways to citizenship for immigrant workers have a direct budgetary impact, precedent via reconciliation, and would bolster economic recovery.
- There is support from all corners of the Democratic Party – inside and outside Washington – to deliver immigration via reconciliation. Now they must demonstrate the political will to deliver.
- The American people overwhelmingly support citizenship. They expect Congressional action to secure a breakthrough, not political games or excuses.
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New pathways to citizenship for immigrant workers have a direct budgetary impact, precedent via reconciliation, and would bolster economic recovery
There is a clear precedent for including immigration provisions in a reconciliation package. Doing so will provide a direct and positive budgetary and fiscal impact that would move America closer to a thriving and equitable economy for all.
- Immigration provisions have a direct budgetary impact and precedent to enact via budget reconciliation. As Marshall Fitz, managing director of immigration at the Emerson Collective, wrote in a recent Roll Call op-ed: “During Senate debate on the 2005 reconciliation bill, Sen. Byrd (yes, the rule’s namesake) offered an amendment to strike those [immigration] provisions. Notably, he did not challenge the green card provisions on Byrd rule grounds that the budgetary impact was ‘merely incidental’, a procedural option he surely would have exercised if he thought it was available.” And as Kevin Kayes, former assistant Senate parliamentarian, states: “Based on previous legislative history regarding immigration provisions in reconciliation and the attributes of the particular proposals under consideration, we believe there is a pathway to get some of this done through reconciliation and therefore, the question is not whether, but rather how much can be done.”
- Pathways to citizenship would be a fiscal and economic boon for America. A new letter from 50+ leading economists’ states, “A pathway to citizenship is a key component of a just, equitable, and robust recovery; and, as aforementioned, granting a pathway to citizenship for millions of aspiring Americans will bring expansive economic benefits to communities across the country –while having a significant impact on the federal budget — not only for the individuals directly affected, but for the larger systems — families, and the workforce — that they comprise.” Economic analysis from Center for American Progress found that the citizenship provisions in the budget package would, over a period of 10 years, create over 400,000 new jobs; raise wages for all – a 31% increase in wages over 10 years for undocumented immigrants and a rise in wages for $600 for all other workers; and boost GDP by a cumulative total of $1.5 trillion over 10 years.
There is support from all corners of the Democratic Party – inside and outside Washington – to deliver immigration via reconciliation. Now they must demonstrate the political will to deliver
Across the party, Democrats are united on ensuring a long overdue immigration breakthrough.
- Democratic unity on Capitol Hill for immigration in reconciliation: As the recent House and Senate passage of budget resolutions with immigration provisions intact demonstrated, Democrats across Capitol Hill and across the party’s ideological spectrum are committed to deliver citizenship for millions this year and support using reconciliation to get it done – from Senator Manchin to AOC to two key committee chairmen, Senate Budget Committee Chair Bernie Sanders and House Budget Committee Chair John Yarmuth.
- The White House wants immigration as part of reconciliation. President Biden and Vice President Harris each support immigration’s inclusion in reconciliation and have held meetings and events with directly impacted immigrants and leading lawmakers as a sign of their commitment. The President told labor leaders this week, “I want to see us finally, finally provide Dreamers, TPS recipients, farm workers, essential workers, a pathway to citizenship, bringing them out of the shadows so they can receive the protection and representation that our laws and our unions provide.” As Brian Deese, the White House Director of the National Economic Council, noted yesterday, “PSA: pathways to citizenship are good for our economy.”
- Support from elected officials across America: 700+ local elected officials and 100+ Mayors endorse citizenship via reconciliation: This week, more than 700 local elected officials from more than 40 states released a new letter calling on Democrats to “prioritize” citizenship in the budget package and endorsing the reconciliation vehicle. Meanwhile, more than 100 mayors across the country, from big cities and small, are calling for immigration to be included in the reconciliation package.
- Now they need to deliver the political will to enact a breakthrough: As Lorella Praeli of Community Change said, “It is our job to ensure that every elected official, especially Democrats this year, understands that voters will judge them on whether or not they delivered, not on whether or not they tried.” And Clarissa Martinez de Castro, deputy vice president of UnidosUS, stated: “We know for sure that legalization is enormously popular with voters, and one thing that is definitely enormously popular with voters is action.”
The American people overwhelmingly support citizenship and it’s time for a breakthrough
American people have decided. The strong consensus view is that Congress should enact legislation that formally recognizes undocumented immigrants as the Americans they already are. The support is bipartisan, coming from a majority of Democrats, independents and Republicans. Intensity favors immigration supporters over opponents by two to one.
- In poll after poll, more than two-thirds of Americans, including a majority of Republican respondents, support citizenship for Dreamers, TPS holders, and essential workers. See here for a polling roundup. Just this past week, polls from Data for Progress and NPR/Ipsos show strong, broad support for citizenship for long-settled immigrants. It is a rare point of consensus among the public.
- It’s time for a breakthrough: Democrats have the votes and responsibility to deliver on their promise of a path to citizenship for millions. A multiracial, multiethnic and multigenerational majority put Democrats in the majority to go big and change lives. Democrats have the power and the path to ensure a long overdue breakthrough. As Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, recently put it: “It is in the interests of America to legalize millions of hard-working immigrants who will deliver a strong economic stimulus by creating jobs, expanding the tax base and pumping money into the social security trust fund … But this is more than just an issue of dollars and cents. It’s about the type of America we aspire to be. Expanding our democracy to deliver green cards and eventual citizenship for Dreamers, TPS holders, farm workers and other essential workers is not just the smart thing to do, but also the right thing to do.”
There is absolutely no procedural, factual or political reason to prevent immigrants from staying legally in the U.S. Every member of Congress and institutional player, including the parliamentarian, should not block the will of the people.