The Senate parliamentarian has rejected Democrats’ back-up plan for getting immigration reform—including amnesty for millions of undocumented residents—into a massive budget reconciliation bill.
Elizabeth MacDonough already nixed Democrats’ first proposal, which would have granted legal citizenship to nearly 8 million illegal immigrants.
Among those included in the proposal were so-called “Dreamers” who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, temporary protected status holders, agricultural workers and others.
However, this reform was “not appropriate” for the spending bill, MacDonough decided last week.
She said the same of Democrats’ Plan B, which was to grant legal citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants by making a change to the date for when illegal immigrants can apply to adjust their legal status.
The registry date is currently set at Jan. 1, 1972 but Democrats proposed changing it to 2010, which would allow all illegal immigrants who can prove they came to the U.S. before 2010 to become citizens.
This reform, too, is a non-starter, MacDonough said.
Changing the registry date is a “weighty policy change and our analysis of this issue is thus largely the same” as the previous proposal, MacDonough told Democrats.
That date change would be a “lifelong change in circumstances, the value of which vastly outweighs its budgetary impact,” she added.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said he was “disappointed” in MacDonough’s ruling and that it left them with “limited” options.
“Unfortunately, we can’t find the language to clear for the reconciliation that might happen,” Durbin told reporters. “We’re gonna keep trying.”
Other Democrats, however, are more optimistic. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., teased a “Plan C,” which he said “is for me to know and you to find out.”