(STATEWIDE – WI) – Wednesday afternoon, the Senate Parliamentarian rejected a second proposal from Congressional Democrats to include a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants in their Build Back Better reconciliation bill by changing the registry date (the date in which immigrants are eligible to apply for legal status). The Senate Parliamentarian is charged with interpreting Senate rules and her opinion is not binding. This decision comes despite multiple polls showing strong bipartisan support for creating a path to citizenship for immigrant essential workers, Dreamers, farm workers and TPS holders through reconciliation (polls here, here, here and here).
Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director for Voces de la Frontera, said: “Congressional Democrats and Vice President Harris can and should ignore the non-binding opinion of the Senate Parliamentarian. The budgetary impact of legalization for millions of immigrant essential workers and Dreamers is undeniable. The moral imperative to grant citizenship to workers on the frontlines of this pandemic is undeniable.
Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough’s opinions on what can and cannot be included in the budget reconciliation process is both elitist and prejudiced. How else can you justify historic record tax breaks for the ultra rich under the Trump Administration while opposing a $15 minimum wage increase in the American Rescue Plan and citizenship for millions of immigrant essential workers on the frontlines of this pandemic?
Democrats cannot hide behind the parliamentarian. They – not the parliamentarian – were elected to lead this country and deliver on the promise of immigration reform. They must find a way to pass a path to citizenship for millions in the Build Back Better budget this year. They have the power to do it, a majority of voters support it, and they must get it done.
This is the moment for escalating public pressure on Democrats in Congress and Vice President Harris. Our country cannot run without the backbreaking labor that immigrant essential workers, Dreamers, TPS holders and farmworkers do everyday to keep our country safe and fed.
Voces is hosting membership meetings in nine cities across the state this week to vote on calling for a Day Without Latinxs and Immigrants strike – no work, no school, no buying – on Monday, October 11, Dia de la Raza. In 2006, a wave of immigrant workers went on strike to defeat HR 4437, a federal anti-immigrant bill. In Wisconsin in 2016 and 2017, immigrant workers, their families and supporters successfully organized a Day Without Latinxs and Immigrants to defeat a state anti-sanctuary bill and the implementation of 287g in Milwaukee County.
In 2021, we need to rise again as essential workers and as a national movement to have our lives valued in this pandemic and force the hand of the Democratic party to deliver on their promise to pass a path to citizenship this year.”