As the Biden border crisis continues with no end in sight, Senate Democrats are quietly working around the clock to inject amnesty into a massive spending bill they are selling as an “infrastructure package.”
The bill is slated to be advanced through the little-known budget reconciliation process , which allows the party in power to pass legislation related to the budget with only a simple majority, bypassing the traditional 60-vote threshold. However, the budget reconciliation process has complex requirements , and it is not certain that the inclusion of immigration would pass muster with the Senate parliamentarian.
The amnesty push accelerated in late June when Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent, released a $6 trillion budget blueprint with reconciliation instructions , including $126 billion to put approximately 5 million illegal aliens on a pathway to citizenship. Then, this week, Senate Democrats agreed to a revised version with a $3.5 trillion spending level but remain mum on details. This agreement is only the start of the budget reconciliation process, but it is a dangerous first step toward amnesty for millions with nothing in return.
How could Senate Democrats possibly do this through the budget reconciliation process? Aside from pointing to a 2005 reconciliation precedent that pales in comparison, their main pitch is that while putting approximately 5 million illegal aliens on a pathway to citizenship is costly, it results in economic benefits for all Americans down the line. This tired talking point has been used by the pro-amnesty lobby for decades.
The fact is this: Amnesty for millions of illegal aliens is not strictly a budgetary concern. Rather, this proposed amnesty would have negative and substantive effects on an entire range of policy issues, including criminal justice, law and order, social cohesion, environmental stewardship, public education, labor fairness, and infrastructure burdens. This makes it ineligible for inclusion in a budget reconciliation bill.
Senate Democrats are setting a terrible precedent for the party in power to circumvent the traditional legislative process to enact unpopular special interest priorities unrelated to spending or revenue.
Critical policy issues, such as immigration, deserve a full debate on the floor of both chambers and require sufficient time for the American public to have their voices heard.
This attempt to blow up long-standing Senate rules in order to grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens would not only exacerbate an already raging crisis, but also deeply harm our nation for decades.
Will any Senate Democrats stand up against their party’s radical fringe?
RJ Hauman is head of government relations at the Federation for American Immigration Reform.