FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 5, 2021
Madison Allman, [email protected], (202) 384-1279
Sydney Bagley, [email protected]
Jorge-Mario Cabrera, CHIRLA, [email protected], (562) 243-5559
Rachel Koelzer, NAKASEC, [email protected], (734) 536-2929
Immigrant Justice Groups Release Memo Outlining How Senate Democrats Can and Should Use Their Power Under Senate Rules to Disregard Parliamentarian and Deliver a Pathway to Citizenship
WASHINGTON — The National Immigration Law Center (NILC), the UndocuBlack Network, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Human Rights (CHIRLA), and the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) released a memo today outlining how Senate Democrats have the authority under existing rules to disregard the parliamentarian and deliver a pathway to citizenship in the Build Back Better Act.
The memo provides a detailed analysis of how precedent and existing Senate rules explicitly authorize Senate Democrats to exercise their power to disregard the parliamentarian’s advisory opinion and pass lasting protections for millions of immigrants who have been waiting 35 years for transformative change.
Under Senate rules, only 41 votes are required to sustain a ruling from the Presiding Officer to disregard the parliamentarian’s recommendation. Senate Democrats and the Vice President must then all vote in favor of the bill for it to pass.
Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director of the National Immigration Law Center and the NILC Immigrant Justice Fund, said, “Our elected leaders have promised for years to secure a pathway to citizenship, and this memo demonstrates how Senate Democrats can use their existing authority under Senate rules to make good on that promise. Instead of deferring to the advisory recommendation of an unelected Senate staffer, Democrats must step into their own power, disregard the parliamentarian’s advisory opinion, and enact permanent relief for the millions of immigrants who call our country home and who are essential to who we are as a nation. The urgency of this moment calls for more than excuses and half-measures. There is no equitable recovery without immigrants. It’s time to deliver.”
Patrice Lawrence, Executive Director of the UndocuBlack Network, said, “Our undocumented communities are resourceful and relentless in our pursuit of our justice and freedom. Green cards in the Build Back Better reconciliation bill is possible and this thoroughly vetted memo proves that. Another election cycle cannot begin with our communities unable to secure stability and certainty through legal permanent residency. We have labored long enough and suffered long enough especially when we worked on the front lines during the pandemic. We look forward to President Biden signing a path to citizenship into law in the Build Back Better package, through updating the registry date, as he promised. We will accept nothing less than green cards.”
Angelica Salas, Executive Director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) and CHIRLA Action Fund, said, “As this powerful memo makes crystal clear, any attempt to hide behind the unelected Senate Parliamentarian or wrap oneself in procedural chicanery, is nothing more than an attempt to avoid accountability for promises made to our immigrant communities. We have been promised, and we fought for a path to citizenship with green cards and permanent residency, not temporary solutions. After 35 years of waiting for real immigration reform, we now have a clear way forward to realize our communities’ aspirations for recognition from the country they serve and love. So we ask Congress and the White House: do you have the will to match ours?”
Becky Belcore, Executive Director of the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC), said, “It is in complete accordance with Senate rules for the advice of the Parliamentarian, an unelected position that serves at the pleasure of the Senate, to be disregarded. It is incumbent on the Senate and the Vice President to deliver on this administration’s promise of a pathway to citizenship, and nothing less. Our impacted community members have shown their tremendous leadership and courage through their organizing efforts for a pathway to citizenship for all. It is time for our elected officials to do the same.”