May Day has come and gone and so too has President Joe Biden’s 100th day anniversary as the U.S.’ POTUS. But there are still no new attempts to address comprehensive immigration reform.
But as advocates get extremely frustrated with the Biden administration, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer claims he is doing some behind-the-scenes maneuvering that could help push the hot button issue forward. Especially since the issue was not included in Biden’s American Families Plan or the American Jobs Plan.
According to a New York Times article of May 3rd, Schumer “is quietly considering trying to use a fast-track budget maneuver to legalize millions of undocumented immigrants should bipartisan talks” fail.
According to Luke Broadwater, “Schumer has privately told members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in recent weeks that he is ‘actively exploring’ whether it would be possible to attach a broad revision of immigration laws to President Biden’s infrastructure plan and pass it through a process known as budget reconciliation.”
This process, the writer points out, will allow the measures to pass the evenly divided Senate with a simple majority of 51 votes, shielding them from a filibuster and the 60-vote threshold for moving past one.
This seems to be Schumer’s Plan B that he is readying, since he knows every well that Republicans are not going to jump fence to support this issue. I predict not one will do it, so forget 10.
Schumer knows that Democrats cannot afford to squander another opportunity in which they control both Chambers but fail to again deliver the much bandied about Democratic talking point: comprehensive immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.
President Biden cannot make the same mistake as President Obama did in his first term as well, when his party also controlled both the Senate and the House. If he does, then immigrant voters will not be as forgiving again, and it will mean a loss in power come 2022.
Biden, Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are politically savvy enough to know this. The question now is will Schumer be able to hold all members of his party in the Senate together to vote on such a bill if he goes the reconciliation route?
Pelosi stands a chance in the House to hold most together, but with Kyrsten Lea Sinema and Joe Manchin leaning into the red wind than blue, Schumer’s Plan B is also a tough poker bet.
Democrats in both Houses also must stay within strict budget rules that include a requirement that policy changes included must have a budgetary impact that is more than merely incidental.
So far there have been past precedents, the article says, including one from 2005, in which changes to immigration policy were allowed as part of a budget-reconciliation package, and they are tallying up the budgetary effects of the immigration proposals––which total in the tens of billions.
This is a silver lining to advocates anxious for Biden to deliver on his campaign promise despite the challenge at the U.S.’ southern border.
A new $50 million ad campaign launched by a coalition of immigration advocacy groups backs the efforts to ensure Biden stays true to his plan to push legislation that provides a legal pathway to citizenship in Congress.
Now he will be leaning heavily on Schumer to get it done––whatever means possible. Let’s pray and hope Schumer delivers for Biden and all immigrants.
The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow