Democrats eye last-ditch effort to pass pathways to citizenship
Democrats are eyeing a way to overrule the Senate parliamentarian and provide pathways to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants — but it will depend on the caucus, including Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), sticking together.
Why it matters: Providing protections for undocumented immigrants has been a central focus for Congressional Democrats. Failing could cost some needed political points heading into what are expected to be brutal midterm elections.
- Next steps are expected to be discussed in a special caucus lunch on Friday, according to a Senate aide.
- Democrats will ultimately need 50 votes to include pathways to citizenship in the $1.75 trillion "human" infrastructure package.
- Two earlier proposals including pathways to citizenship failed the Byrd rule, which requires provisions to be primarily budget-related to be passed through the reconciliation process.
What they're saying: Following a third rejection from the Senate rules referee on Thursday night, Senate Democratic leaders issued a statement, hinting at an attempt to go around the parliamentarian.
- "[W]e will pursue every means to achieve a path to citizenship in the Build Back Better Act,” they said.
What we're watching: A final plan has not been decided on. But pro-immigration advocates are hoping Democrats take advantage of the opportunity and Senate rules to get pathways to citizenship done.
- Other potential options include watering down the immigration provisions even further to get it past the parliamentarian and into the package through an amendment.
- The latest rejected proposal did not include pathways to citizenship, but deportation protections and work permits for millions of undocumented immigrants.
- If Democrats decide to side-step the parliamentarian, advocates involved expect they will look at full pathways to citizenship by changing the immigrant registry date — the "plan B" option which was also rejected.
Between the lines: It would be a long and complicated process with an initial vote requiring 41 Senate Democrats to agree to overrule the Senate parliamentarian.
- That would need to be followed by a vote on the inclusion of any immigration provision, which would require a simple majority.
The big picture: Even if Democrats manage to get enough support to overrule the parliamentarian, the pathways to citizenship would still rely on Manchin's ultimate support of the roughly $1.75 trillion "human" infrastructure package.
- Concerns from Manchin have forced Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to delay bringing the bill to the floor until next year.