As the push for immigration reform has stalled recently, congressional Democrats and the White House could use a budgetary maneuver requiring only a simple Senate majority to try and advance a sweeping infrastructure package. The possibility became more serious Monday when the Senate parliamentarian ruled that a revised budget resolution could potentially be used to pass another reconciliation bill. Democrats recently used a fiscal 2021 budget resolution earlier this year as the vehicle for a $1.86 trillion coronavirus relief package. It’s far from certain that any immigration provisions could make it into another reconciliation bill, and the comprehensive overhaul of the immigration system backed by the White House is even less likely. However, Democrats plan to try by making a case about the budget impacts of immigration in the country.
Congress and the Senate has been narrowly divided and for years have struggled to reach any consensus on immigration policy. The current situation at the U.S.-Mexico border, with the government scrambling to accommodate thousands of unaccompanied migrant children who have crossed in recent weeks has been part of the problem for democrats passing broader reforms. In March, the House passed two immigration measures to provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. One was intended for those brought to the U.S. as children and temporary protected status holders, and the other was for undocumented agricultural farmworkers. However, neither measure is likely to get 60 votes in the Senate. Right now, those provisions, plus a path to citizenship for essential workers, are the focus of the legislative push.