Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough has ruled for a third time that specific immigration provisions in the Build Back Better Act (BBBA) granting parole and work authorization to unauthorized aliens who entered the United States before January 1, 2011, cannot be included in the reconciliation bill because the policy changes outweigh the budgetary impact.
Unless Senate Democrats overrule this advisory opinion, Section 60001 will be eliminated from the bill. This is a blow to proponents of Section 60001. They believe those individuals should be granted some sort of relief. They also argue the change would be a boost to the economy and provide needed relief to the current labor shortage.
The other immigration provisions in the House-passed version of the BBBA (to recapture unused immigrant visas and allow some long-waiting green card applicants to speed up their processes) were not addressed by MacDonough and so remained in place.
On MacDonough’s ruling, Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D. Nev.), and Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.) issued the following statement:
We strongly disagree with the Senate parliamentarian’s interpretation of our immigration proposal, and we will pursue every means to achieve a path to citizenship in the Build Back Better Act.
On the other side, Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) stated:
This guidance confirms, once again, what everyone already knew – that giving amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants isn’t a budgetary matter appropriate for reconciliation.
The Senate Democrats have the option of rejecting the parliamentarian’s advisory opinion. It is far from certain whether that, or even passage of the BBBA itself, will be successful.