By Angelica Salas, CHIRLA executive director:
The “Build Back Better Act,” as passed by the House in mid-November made groundbreaking investments in climate remediation, education and children’s welfare.
For immigrants, it provided only temporary work permits, even though economic research clearly shows a path to citizenship benefits the economy far more. Given the parliamentarian’s intransigence on anything having to do with immigration relief, we demand the Senate to do what is right and insert permanent residency back in the bill and fulfill their promise of citizenship to millions now.
The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), the largest immigrant rights organization in California, urged Senate Democrats to bypass the parliamentarian’s intransigent views on immigration relief and put permanent residency back into the immigration provisions of the Build Back Better Act, thus recognizing that a vibrant American society needs immigrants.
Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled to exclude already pared down immigration relief measures in the Build Back Better legislative package. Even the meager temporary work permit program included in the House version of the bill, which does not measure up to the promises made to immigrants, has been rejected by this unelected advisor.
MacDonough has previously rejected two other proposals earlier in the year.
Including a registry update in the Senate version of Build Back Better — as initially proposed by the House Judiciary Committee — makes the bill more equitable and ensures that everyone can truly benefit from it. Currently, nearly everyone benefits from the bill — except immigrants.
Our lives in this country are permanent. Truly transformative, significant immigration relief should reflect this. It must be as permanent as the contributions we make daily to the country. It must be as permanent as our investment in the American promise.
Right now, the Senate has a duty to recognize that immigration is a systemic, normal feature of a vibrant society, and it must provide a viable process, like a registry update, to enable it.
Sidestep and disregard the parliamentarian now because we elected you to deliver citizenship for millions!
Angelica Salas is the executive director of CHIRLA.