Senate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan
Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough on Sunday ruled against Democrats' plan to provide 8 million greencards as part of their $3.5 trillion spending bill, dealing a significant blow to Democrats' immigration reform chances.
MacDonough's guidance, a copy of which was obtained by The Hill, all but closes the door to Democrats using the spending bill to provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants.
MacDonough, in her guidance, warned that the Democratic plan doesn't meet the strict rules on what can be in the spending bill, calling the plan "by any standard a broad, new immigration policy."
"The policy changes of this proposal far outweigh the budgetary impact scored to it and it is not appropriate for inclusion in reconciliation," she wrote in the ruling obtained by The Hill, referring to the budget process Democrats are using to avoid the Senate filibuster.
Democrats pitched MacDonough earlier this month on their plan to use the $3.5 trillion spending bill to provide 8 million green cards for four groups of immigrants: "Dreamers," temporary protected status (TPS) holders, agricultural workers and essential workers. Getting legal permanent resident status allows an individual to eventually apply for citizenship if they can meet other qualifications.
But because Democrats are using reconciliation to pass the spending bill without GOP support, there are strict requirements for what can be included. One of the requirements is that any provision in the bill has to impact the federal government's spending or revenues and that the impact can't be "merely incidental" to nonbudgetary intentions.