If Democrats are serious about immigration reform, now is the time to act

Opinion: Democrats should grow a backbone and act on immigration reform, regardless of whether the Senate parliamentarian says it can be part of the budget.

By Elvia Díaz | Arizona Republic

(Editor’s note: Feds: Arizona can’t sue over halt to border wall construction Arizona.  Daily Star—subscription only)

Legalizing immigrants hasn’t been the thing for President Biden and Senate Democrats, but they can change that – with or without the parliamentarian.

The question isn’t really can they make immigration reform a priority before next year’s midterm elections,but will they?

On Friday, Senate Democrats will make the strongest possible economic case to the parliamentarian to include immigrant legalization in their $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation plan.

The parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, tells senators what’s acceptable and what’s not to tuck into budget spending based on Senate rules and precedents.

But her recommendation is just that – advice that the Senate’s presiding officer, Vice President Kamala Harris, can ignore or overturn.

Parliamentarian doesn’t have the final say

The Senate’s 60-vote threshold makes it impossible for Democrats to pass any legislation in the current 50-50 split Senate. They can, however, bypass Republicans when it comes to the budget.

In this case, Democrats can and should go ahead with immigration reform even if MacDonough decides against it after Friday’s arguments.

It wouldn’t be the first time the Senate’s presiding officer ignored or overturned the parliamentarian, as Reuters has detailed.

It takes guts to do it, though.


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September 2021