Senate Democrats are working on the final details of a new plan to convince the Senate’s top aide, attorney Elizabeth MacDonough, to agree to include a pathway for legal protection of undocumented immigrants in the 2022 Expense Budget Reconciliation Package.
But unlike the first two attempts, both with a path to the Green Card and then citizenship by naturalization, Plan C is less generous: it would protect 8 million undocumented immigrants from deportation – with a deferred action of deportation similar to DACA- and would grant them a renewable work permit.
“They are putting the final touches on the new proposal,” said a congressional source familiar with the talks, but who is not authorized to speak to the press.
“The leadership will continue to try to get a favorable opinion from the office of the Senate advisor to move forward with the reconciliation issue,” he said.
The deferred deportation action would benefit the same four groups of immigrants included in plans A and B rejected by MacDonough in September, that is, dreamers (undocumented young people who entered the United States before reaching their 16th birthday), holders of Protective Status. Temporary (TPS), essential workers (from the health area and the food chain) and field workers.
The Immigration Hub organization, which is collaborating with the Senate in the development of the plan to include the regularization of undocumented persons in the reconciliation package, explained details of Plan C.
“Unlike the first two, Plan C is based on current immigration laws,” said Lia Parada, director of legislative affairs for the organization.
“It is a temporary residence permit similar to DACA or TPS granted by Congress, which will have stronger protections than if it is done through a presidential Executive Action,” he explained.
Parada also said that “these permits will come with deportation protection valid for 5 years,” and that during the first 5-year stage, favored immigrants will not be eligible for certain public benefits, such as medical coverage.
“But they will be eligible in the second 5-year protection period, as required by law,” said Parada.
Regarding the number of plans that can be presented to the Senate’s top adviser, Parada said that there are usually three formal presentations “and so far only one has been going, the first in mid-September.”
The second plan (B) was presented informally during a meeting with delegates from both parties to request more information from the advisor.
“Plan C will also be carried out in the framework of an informal meeting,” Parada said. “We will continue looking for a way to convince her and give her a favorable opinion, taking into account all the existing rules so that she can be included in the reconciliation package,” he said.
The Immigration Hub is confident that, at the end of the consultation period, Democrats will finally get approval to include immigration in the budget approval process.
Plan A consisted of including in the reconciliation package the bills approved by the House of Representatives on March 18, which included a path of legalization for the 8 million undocumented persons of the four groups mentioned.
MacDonough’s office concluded in its report that the adjustment of status requested by the Democrats “will increase the deficit by $ 140 billion over 10 years as a result of the social safety net and benefit programs to which legal permanent residents who would be legalized would have. right”.
He also said that “the provision also includes conditions of ineligibility for these applicants along with exemptions from many of those disqualifiers at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).”
Plan B consisted of modifying the date of the Registry Act, a provision approved by Congress that allows certain undocumented aliens who are in the United States as of January 1, 1972, lack a criminal record and have good character moral, apply for legal permanent residence (LPR or Green Card).
The idea was to advance the date to 2010, but MacDonough said the initiative was similar to the first plan and dismissed it.
Organizations and activists fighting for immigrant rights lashed out at Plan C and were disappointed by the new effort.
“The plan is absolutely ridiculous,” said Francisco Moreno, director of the Federation of Mexican Confederations of Los Angeles (California). “This position on the part of the Democratic leadership is ridiculous,” he added.
“We do not believe that a TPS for another TPS is the solution, it is a patch to play another patch,” he said when learning details of the plan.
“We have fought for inclusive immigration reform. Now we look very badly at wanting to put something on the table for a half-legalization to help our community, “he said.
In turn, Matt Adams, legal director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, in Seattle (Washington), said that the plan shows “a desperate situation” on the part of the Democratic leadership.
“The first two options have already been rejected and they believe they cannot achieve more. Eliminating the services will give them a better chance. And I think that, of course, it is not the best option, but perhaps it is the only one they have, “he concluded.