What’s Next for Immigration Reform: Democrats Desperate for Path Forward on Immigration

Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the latest in immigration reform. Over the past few months, Democrats have been scrambling to pass immigration reform through a series of social spending proposals included in President Biden’s Build Back Better Act, a piece of legislation that would shield Dreamers, TPS holders, farm workers, and essential workers from deportation.

Want to know more? Just keep on watching.


Overview


For a third time the Democrats have tried and failed to introduce comprehensive immigration reform proposals in the reconciliation bill known as H.R. 5376 “the Build Back Better Act.”


What happened?


On December 16, 2021, the Senate Parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, rejected the most recent proposal by Democrats in Congress to introduce important protections for undocumented immigrants including Dreamers, TPS visa holders, farm workers, and essential workers. H.R. 5376 also included provisions that would extend work permits, provide temporary relief from deportation for undocumented immigrants who came to the United States before January 2011, and other provisions that would exempt certain employment-based and family-based immigrants from the numerical limitations prescribed by the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The Senate Parliamentarian quickly shot down the new proposals, stating that Congressional Democrats could not include a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in a social spending bill. Further, MacDonough indicated that if passed, the proposal would create a new class of about 6.5 million eligible individuals for permanent residency which was already prohibited in the previous two rejected proposals. She added that the most recent proposal by Democrats was deficient in the same way as the previous proposals stating, “there are substantial policy changes with lasting effects just like those we previously considered and outweigh the budgetary impact.”


What will happen next?


Democrats will be left scrambling looking for alternative ways to bring about a bipartisan resolution that will include at least some of the proposals included in the Build Back Better Act. Democrats have few options on the table. One alternative is for Democrats to remove many of the provisions creating a pathway to residency for undocumented immigrants, leaving the bill to include primarily budgetary provisions and have a much narrower approach. Democrats may also try to bypass the Senate Parliamentarian, a more unlikely option. At this time, Senate Democrats do not have sufficient votes to pass immigration reform on their own and must gain the support of Republicans for the bill to gain traction in Congress. What is certain is that these negotiations will continue in Congress into the new year.

Our office continues to closely monitor such developments and will provide any new updates right here on our blog.


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What’s Next for Immigration Reform: Democrats Desperate for Path Forward on Immigration