Democrats struggle to keep immigration overhaul alive in reconciliation bill

Significantly, the proposal would not put the millions of undocumented immigrants on a direct path to citizenship — the new measure alone would not give them the right to immediately receive green cards. Immigrants currently eligible for a green card, such as the parents of adult U.S. citizens, could still pursue citizenship under the plan.

Proponents of the plan have argued that the watered-down proposal should satisfy the parliamentarian, who had criticized the size of previous drafts.

The legislation would offer undocumented immigrants not only protection from deportation, but also the opportunity to obtain work permits — a point immigration lawyers say should more clearly link the provision to the federal budget, making it easier for the MP to make it. allow under the rules of reconciliation.

“This is a last-ditch effort to salvage something for the reconciliation process that could provide some measure of protection for undocumented migrants while Democrats are in control of Congress,” said Cris Ramón, a Washington immigration consultant, adding that it’s “not necessarily where proponents wanted to land I guess.”

The Democrats’ plan includes most undocumented immigrants who entered the United States before Jan. 1, 2011, and could help between 7 million and 8 million people, those familiar with the plan said. It would allow those who are covered to travel out of the country with Homeland Security permission.

The proposal essentially codifies an enhanced version of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program introduced by President Barack Obama in 2012, which gives work permits and legal status to people who came to the United States before 2012 and have been in the country continuously. lived from then on.

“My guiding principle during the ongoing reconciliation process is to provide a pathway to citizenship for most of the undocumented community,” New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez, who has worked on the issue, said in a statement. “Despite the MP’s recent negative opinions, I will continue to work with my colleagues and a broad coalition of groups, including lawyers, to find a way forward.”

The comprehensive social safety net legislation would extend Medicare to dentistry, vision and hearing, allow the federal government to negotiate the price of prescription drugs, and address funding for paid family leave, childcare subsidies, free kindergarten and community college, and investment in climate change. Democratic leaders are currently working to roll back the $3.5 trillion package to gain the support of the centrist Democrats needed to get the measure to Mr Biden’s desk.

Michael D. Shear reporting contributed.

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