Following revelations this week that Democrats may seek, without bipartisan support, to convert millions of illegal immigrants into voting citizens using a bad-faith parliamentary gimmick, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., slammed the power-grab scheme as an attempt to hijack the system.
Democrats don’t have 60 Senate votes for amnesty, so they have a new trick: pretend the biggest immigration bill in decades is part of their “budget” bill to pass it on a party-line vote through reconciliation.
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) July 14, 2021
Senate Democrats said they plan to shoehorn amnesty for at least 6 million non-citizens—as well as other far-left immigration policies—into a new $3.5 trillion budget bill that could be passed without Republican support.
Among the Left’s many wish-list items included in the budget proposal, it would grant amnesty to childhood arrivals previously exempted from deportation by the Obama-era DACA policy, as well as farm-workers, essential workers and people on Temporary Protected Status.
Democrats hoped to push the proposal through reconciliation, a process permitting simple-majority support for select appropriations-based legislation.
Although the purpose of the rule is to prevent budgetary impasses from shutting down essential government functions, leftists, under the leadership of radical Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., have now appropriated the arcane procedure to serve distinctly partisan objectives.
Unable to rally even their own party members to fall in line behind an earlier plot to abolish the filibuster, Democrats’ reconciliation workaround would, nonetheless, allow them to bypass Republicans completely in the evenly-split deliberative body.
However, a source familiar with Democrats’ thinking admitted that the amnesty plan is something of a moonshot since nonpartisan Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough might limit the “size and scope” of how many immigrants the bill would reach and still fall under the protective umbrella of budget appropriations.
“That’s going to be up to the parliamentarian—what’s in there,” said Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev. “We’ll leave that to her discretion, and then, based on that, we’ll decide where the appropriate place is for it.”
Sen. Mike Rounds, R-SD, predicted that amnesty and the other immigration reforms would be struck from the reconciliation bill by the parliamentarian.
“Reconciliation is designed as a budget thing and not necessarily a policy issue,” Rounds told NBC News. “So I think they’re going to have a very difficult time getting immigration in.”
Even if it does slip through, the 50 Democrat-aligned senators must be in lockstep over the maneuver, which is likely to be a hard sell with moderates and those who face tough re-election challenges in battleground states.
But Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., one of a handful of Senate Democrats who regularly break from the party, has already indicated his support for including amnesty in the budget bill.
That leaves Arizona Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly as the only potential maverick whose support could waiver due to the state’s close proximity to the Mexican border.
With more than a million illegals already projected to exploit the Biden administration’s lax immigration policy, promises of a shortcut to citizenship are certain to bring new waves of asylum seekers—along with gang violence, drugs and human trafficking that are all part of the cottage industry developing around the porous border.
Headline USA’s Ben Sellers contributed to this report.