Key among them is Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, who had “repeatedly called the idea unrealistic and downplayed the idea,” The LA Times reported. But questioned more recently, Durbin said he’d “vote for that.” New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez said in the report that Democrats would look at “all the options,” including overruling her. “Whatever it takes to get this done,” California Sen. Alex Padilla told The LA Times. “For Democrats as a whole, I think as time goes on, as negotiations continue, it’s increasingly clear how important and urgent this is.”
Not for all Democrats, sadly. The Associated Press (AP) reports that West Virginia’s Joe Manchin threw cold water on the idea, claiming that the “bottom line is the parliamentarian, you stick with the parliamentarian, that’s all,” he said. “You stick on every issue. You can’t pick and choose.” That’s just flat-out untrue. Like Daily Kos’ Joan McCarter noted months ago, Senate Republicans once fired the parliamentarian after "recent rulings that effectively made it harder for the GOP to push President Bush's budget and tax cut proposals through the evenly divided body."
A poll from earlier this year found that nearly two-thirds of West Virginia voters support the Dream Act, legislation that has been championed by Durbin in the past and creates a pathway to citizenship for young immigrants. That polling also found that more than half supported legalization for undocumented essential workers. “Overall, 57% of West Virginia voters say that immigrants make their state a better place to live, including majorities of Democrats, Independents, and voters across age groups.”
Likely joining Manchin is, shocker, Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema, “who’s said she supports helping migrants become citizens but has cited ‘legal limitations’ in what can be included in this legislation,” the AP reported. But policy experts have made the case on why a pathway to citizenship can pass the so-called Byrd rule test. “Beyond the significant economic benefits, there is a strong precedent for the inclusion of legalization in a budget reconciliation package.” In my opinion, the policy experts win this one.
House progressives have in recent weeks urged Senate Democrats to use their majority to pass permanent relief, most recently during a rally in Washington, D.C. this week. There, several House Democrats stood with immigrant communities to continue pushing for a pathway to citizenship as part of President Biden’s Build Back Better plan.
“We just lived through one, almost two years now, of a pandemic that relied, where our country relied, on undocumented people to survive,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Tuesday. “Because who else was sanitizing our buildings? Who else was caring for our elders? Who else was harvesting our food? Who else was stocking our shelves, except immigrant labor in the United States of America.” DACA recipient Yoliswa Cele said “no more excuses. There’s no other chance. We cannot wait another four years.”
”Immigration reform is essential, urgent, and popular—and the American workforce needs it,” Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego tweeted. “The Senate Parliamentarian wasn't elected by anyone and shouldn't determine our future. Our Senate colleagues must do everything in their power to deliver a pathway to citizenship.”