What You Need to Know: Democrats Using Budget Reconciliation to Advance Mass Amnesty
FAIR Take | September 2021
Democrats on Capitol Hill are working around the clock to pass the largest amnesty in American history with no enforcement tradeoffs
Even worse, they are doing so in a manner that is just as bad, if not worse, than the actual policy proposal.
Amnesty is a top priority for the $3.5 trillion package dubbed “Build Back Better”, which will originate in the House and then advance through the Senate using budget reconciliation. This arcane legislative process allows the party in power to pass legislation related to the budget with only a simple majority in the upper chamber, thus bypassing the traditional 60-vote threshold.
Fortunately, the budget reconciliation process has complex requirements, and it is not certain that the inclusion of amnesty would pass muster with the Senate parliamentarian. Democrats here in Washington do not care, however. They are moving forward as she mulls it over.
Shortly after Democrats made their case to the Senate parliamentarian, the House Judiciary Committee finally released amnesty text last Friday. Then, in the middle of the night on September 13, the committee voted 25-19 along party lines to advance the amnesty proposal. The markup lasted about 14 hours, with one break. Democrats rejected every single FAIR-supported Republican amendment, including those that would have excluded gang members and sex offenders.
Here is what the committee advanced:
A broad amnesty for 8 million or so illegal aliens, which would be the largest in American history. Those eligible include an even larger “Dreamer” population as well as every illegal alien “essential worker,” defined in a way that includes nearly every line of work. Even worse, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would be required to give illegal aliens a “reasonable opportunity” to apply before deporting them. That is essentially a shield to stop all deportations right after the bill passes. Lastly, it would greatly expand legal immigration by recapturing visas and quickly adjusting the status of those in the backlog. All in exchange for absolutely nothing. It does not contain a single provision to address the border crisis or enforce the law.
While there are so many additional factors in play that could affect whether or not this amnesty language can be included or if the package can even advance, this is still a dire situation and everyone must make their voices heard in the coming weeks. A vote in the House could come as early as the last week in September.
What to tell your representative:
- Critical policy issues, such as immigration, deserve a full debate on the floor of both chambers.
- This attempt to blow up long-standing Senate rules in order to grant amnesty to 8 million illegal aliens would not only make the border crisis worse, but also deeply harm our nation for decades.
- If amnesty is included in the final budget reconciliation package, you must vote against it.