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Budget process an 'uphill battle' for immigration

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Rachel Rhodes

The House Judiciary Committee is marking up immigration provisions today as part of the budget reconciliation process.

Stephen Yale-Loehr

Professor of Immigration Law

Stephen Yale-Loehr, professor of immigration law at Cornell Law School and co-author of a leading 21-volume immigration law series, says that Democrats face an uphill battle in trying to keep immigration provisions in the bill.

Yale-Loehr says: 

“Among other things, the bill proposes to legalize several million Dreamers, essential workers, temporary protected status recipients, and other noncitizens. The bill would also recapture unused visas to provide green card relief for applicants stuck in long backlogs.

“The immigration provisions face an uphill battle, however, for several reasons. First, to be included in the budget reconciliation process, lawmakers need to persuade Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough that the immigration provisions have a direct impact on the budget. The House bill tries to do that by proposing legalization application fees and other monetary provisions. However, it is unclear whether the Senate Parliamentarian will agree.

“Second, even if Ms. MacDonough agrees to keep immigration provisions in the budget reconciliation bill, all 50 Democratic senators must agree on the overall bill for it to pass. Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have already signaled that they are uncomfortable with the overall $3.5 trillion dollar price tag of the budget reconciliation bill.

“In sum, to succeed, Democrats must thread a very thick immigration string through a very small legislative needle.”

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