90 members of the House ask the Senate to return to the path of citizenship for undocumented migrants

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A group of 90 Democrats in the House of Representatives sent a letter to the Senate on Monday asking that a path to citizenship for undocumented migrants be enshrined in President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill.

The letter, led by New York Representative Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez, was addressed to the three most senior members of the Senate: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick Leahy, and Senate Whip majority in the Senate Dick Durbin.

In the letter, many influential House Democrats urged the Senate to include legislation in the bill that would allow some undocumented immigrants to apply for citizenship, including essential workers and dreamers.

House Democrats have included a provision in the Build Back Better law that allows these undocumented immigrants to apply for a five-year work permit. However, a true path to citizenship was not something that was included in the House version of the bill.

“We must not look further than the previous CBO [Congressional Budget Office] scores for the same proposition of knowing that providing a path to citizenship would have a huge budgetary impact, “the letter said.

Ninety House Democrats sent a letter to the Senate asking that a path to citizenship for immigrants be enshrined in the Build Back Better bill. Here, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer can be seen delivering a speech in October.
Anna Moneymaker / Getty

“When Congress promises ‘immigration reform’, as it has done throughout the negotiating process, our party must fully deliver on that promise,” the letter continued.

The letter added that while these immigrants have always been granted temporary status allowing them to stay in the United States, Build Back Better as it is now would only extend those statuses without solving the immigration problem.

The position of Senatorial MP Elizabeth MacDonough was also discussed. The parliamentarian is responsible for ensuring that the rules and procedures of the Senate are respected and interpreted.

MacDonough said, contrary to the CBO report, that this immigration reform would not have a significant budgetary impact. Despite this, the House letter noted that the role of the parliamentarian is simply to advise and that the Senate is not required to defend his opinion.

“As we have stated [in a previous letter], federal law and Senate case law provide that the Speaker of the Senate can make a different binding ruling on such a point of order, “the letter said.” We cannot let an unelected councilor determine what promises we keep and which don’t, especially when the vast majority of Americans, in both parties, want us to provide them with a path to citizenship. “

The Congressional Research Service has also written in the past that “Parliamentarians and their MPs / assistants only offer advice that the Representative or the Presiding Senator can accept or reject.”

As House Democrats continue to urge the Senate to go against the parliamentarian, such an event is rare.

As Speaker of the Senate, Vice President Kamala Harris has the ultimate authority to reprimand the opinion of the parliamentarian. However, a vice president has not overthrown a parliamentarian since 1975.

Despite this, House Democrats continue to push for immigration reform in the Build Back Better bill. However, it is not yet clear whether Senate Democrats plan to include such legislation in their version of the bill.

Experts agree that the bill as passed in the House will likely undergo a series of changes to appease senators who are on the fence. This would result in the bill returning to the House for another vote.

News week has contacted Senate Majority Leader Schumer’s office for comment.

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