Groups demand Mark Kelly ‘not hide’ behind parliamentarian opinion on citizenship; Darius Rose Law Group Immigration Dept. Chair Darius Amiri weighs in

Jesus Vazquez speaks on Sept. 20, 2021, outside of Sen. Mark Kelly’s office in Phoenix to push the Democrat to secure a pathway to citizenship for immigrants like himself. The day before, an opinion from the Senate parliamentarian on the push to secure a pathway to citizenship through the reconciliation process set back the plan from Senate Democrats. /Photo by Laura Gómez / Arizona Mirror

By Jim Small | Arizona Mirror

Immigration community advocates are pushing U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly to find “whatever means” to pass a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants following a setback on Sunday when the policy change to secure a permanent immigration status for millions was blocked from being part of the budget reconciliation process.

Related: Immigration reform blocked from reconciliation bill in Congress, but Democrats vow to try again

On Sunday, the U.S. Senate parliamentarian — who is a nonpartisan advisor on the Senate rules and process — turned down the plan Senate Democrats included in a $3.5 trillion reconciliation package to provide the Senate Judiciary Committee with $107 billion for “lawful permanent status for qualified immigrants.” 

Gathered near Kelly’s office in central Phoenix on Monday, members of the We Are Home coalition said the Senate parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, does not “have the last say” on providing permanence to some undocumented immigrants.

“She should not be the decision-maker… Our leadership in the Senate, in the White House, are the decision-makers to provide a pathway to citizenship for our people, for our community” said Karina Ruiz, leader of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition. Ruiz has temporary protection from deportation and a two-year renewable work permit through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. 

“While the decision to exclude immigration reform from the budget reconciliation is disheartening for advocates, this decision will undoubtedly return immigration to the forefront of agenda items for Democrats moving forward. The hope for many is to find common ground with enough Congresspeople from either party to put a bipartisan bill together. Hopefully this is a reality and not just a pipedream.”

Darius Amiri

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