Yesterday, Democratic aids met with the Senate parliamentarian to discuss the possibility of including immigration reform in the reconciliation process. This method was used before to pass many pieces of immigration-related pieces of legislation in the past. I will discuss two reasons why Democrats should push hard to make this a reality.
Reconcilation has Been Used Before to Pass Immigration Legislation
As I mentioned above, this reconciliation process has been used previously to pass immigration-related legislation. in 2005, the then Republican-controlled Senate included an immigration piece of legislation using reconciliation. The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 included a provision to used previously unused immigrant visa petitions in subsequent years. Republicans did not even ask the Parlimatarian for an opinion at the time.
Republicans argued then that legalizing immigrants would help the treasury. Democrats surely have this argument this time. Including the immigration provision in the budget process. Immigrants added $2 trillion to the GDP and more than $450 billion to State GDPs in 2016.
Another argument for inclusion is the fact that the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services is funded by fees. Adding more than 8 million immigrants to the rolls would surely add to the Service income.
Immigration Reform is More than Overdue
I can not tell you how many times I had to turn well-deserving clients away because I simply could not help them. Most of these immigrants are recipients of relief under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program established by President Obama in 2012. The DACA program has been attacked numerous times by Republicans as presidential overreach. In fact, a judge has enjoined the program from being enforced nationally in July. It is past time to give these immigrants certainty by legalizing them and unleash their potential.
Honestly, these recipients have become a political tool used by the right to attack immigration. However, if you look at the DACA population, it is the population the United States should help remain in the US. More than 62,000 of these immigrants work at the frontlines of the pandemic and more than 480,000 are essential non-healthcare workers. More than half of the 1.2 million DACA-eligible immigrants work in essential occupations. Allowing these immigrants to remain in the United States and gain permanent residence will be a net positive to the United States.
Using reconciliation to pass an essential piece of legislation should be a Democratic priority for these two reasons. Please call us at 1-888-963-7326 to discuss your options and the impact of the upcoming legislation on your future in the United States.