Senate Democrats on Monday unveiled a historic, ambitious $3.5 trillion budget resolution that includes more than $100 billion to create a pathway to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and other young immigrants, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, and essential laborers like farmworkers. Advocates believe this can finally be the year to permanently protect millions of undocumented immigrants. With a court ruling recently stopping all new DACA applications, it must be.
“For years, undocumented communities have lived under the constant threat of deportation and family separation all while facing cruel and racist attacks from the right-wing, including attacks on DACA that have resulted in the program’s partial end,” United We Dream Executive Director Greisa Martinez Rosas said. “Still, in the face of these cruelties, immigrant youth spent months transforming our fear into direct action to fight for permanent protections for ourselves, our families, and millions more. Today, we proved once again that our power is undeniable.”
”We at the National Immigration Law Center and our partners in the immigrant justice movement have been advocating for a pathway to citizenship for decades, and we are thrilled by today’s events,” Executive Director Marielena Hincapié said in a statement received by Daily Kos. “An overwhelming majority of Americans—and voters—support a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who call the U.S. home. We commend Congress for responding to the will of the American people with this crucial step forward.”
We Are Home Campaign Director Bridgitte Gomez called it a “historic opportunity for Democrats to deliver on a bold and visionary agenda for our country,” saying in a statement received by Daily Kos that “Congress is one step closer to advancing long and overdue protections for millions of undocumented immigrants.”
Importantly, several of these leaders warned of Republican sabotaging via the amendment process, because as the budget resolution moves through the chamber, Republicans are expected to propose anti-immigrant amendment after anti-immigrant amendment to derail progress and block relief for families. While advocates said specific amendments are not yet known, Republicans recently proposed one amendment that would force the Biden administration to keep building the previous president’s stupid wall.
Because shameless Republican governors are also trying to blame migrants for the rise in COVID-19 cases, expect some particularly nasty amendments from Senate Republicans, too.
“The food Senators eat comes from the hands of farm workers, many who are undocumented immigrants and deserve to have a pathway to citizenship,” said UFW Foundation Executive Director Diana Tellefson Torres. “Farm workers and immigrants are vital to our food security and economy. Whether you’re a Democrat, Independent or a Republican, you’ve relied on immigrant labor, throughout the pandemic and long before.
“When considering amendments to the budget resolution, Senators should know that farmworkers are watching and will expect them to be on the right side of history by opposing anti-immigrant and anti-worker amendments in the budget resolution package,” she continued.
“We anticipate that Republicans will do everything they can to knock citizenship out of the budget resolution,” said America’s Voice Executive Director Frank Sharry. “They will deploy their fear-mongering and border-first talking points. But the overwhelming bipartisan support of the American people for citizenship for immigrants should prevail. Democrats should keep their eyes on what America wants, not what Republicans want Americans to fear.”
Overcoming Republican amendments is just one of the steps we have to take here. While we’re also awaiting the opinion of the Senate parliamentarian on the proposed passage of legalization through reconciliation, Senate Democrats should remember her advice is just that: advice. “If the Senate parliamentarian doesn't agree, Democrats need to remember one thing: she's not in charge, and that her opinions are advisory only and can be overruled,” Daily Kos’ Joan McCarter writes. “This is a promise Democrats have to fulfill.”
“We will bring undocumented people out of the shadows and provide them with a pathway to citizenship, including those who courageously kept our economy running in the middle of a deadly pandemic,” tweeted Senate Budget Committee Chair Bernie Sanders. “For too long, Congress has ignored the needs of the working class, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor. Now is the time for bold action. Now is the time to restore faith in ordinary Americans that their government can work for them, and not the top 1%.”