Get ready—the next great legislative battle of the 117th Congress finally may be here. In yet another radical move, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) formally inquired whether Democrats could use something called budget reconciliation to pass Joe Biden’s $2 trillion “infrastructure” bill.
Using this process would allow Democrats to pass a radical, broad package by a simple majority, rather than needing to muster the 60 votes currently required for most pieces of legislation. The Senate parliamentarian indicated that Democrats can use budget reconciliation one final time, but on what and how is still up in the air.
Disturbingly, the New York Times reported that Schumer is considering using the budget reconciliation process to ram through amnesty legislation for up to 8 million illegal aliens as part of the infrastructure package. According to the Times:
Mr. Schumer has privately told members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in recent weeks that he is ‘actively exploring’ whether it would be possible to attach a broad revision of immigration laws to President Biden’s infrastructure plan and pass it through a process known as budget reconciliation, according to two people briefed on his comments . . . The strategy is part of a backup plan Mr. Schumer has lined up in the event that talks among 15 senators in both parties fail to yield a compromise. As the negotiations drag on with little agreement in sight, proponents are growing increasingly worried that Democrats may squander a rare opportunity to legalize broad swaths of the undocumented population while their party controls both chambers of Congress and the White House.
Big business and open-borders lobbyists responded to Schumer’s comments almost immediately. FWD.us—the pro-amnesty organization bankrolled by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg—announced it would be blasting TV airwaves with a new ad imploring lawmakers to use budget reconciliation to give a pathway to citizenship for some 8 million illegal aliens. Politico reports that FWD.us and other open-borders coalition groups are launching a $50 million effort pushing for amnesty for so-called “Dreamers,” temporary protected status recipients, and farmworkers.
FWD.us also announced the hiring of Kevin Kayes, a former assistant Senate parliamentarian, to help hone the procedural argument in favor of allowing the maneuver this year. The decision on whether or not amnesty can be included will be in the hands of the current parliamentarian.
The Biden Administration clearly is susceptible to public pressure, particularly when it comes to immigration. Look no further than the administration’s about-face decision to raise the refugee cap after previously deciding to keep it at the level set by President Trump. The loudest components of his base can and have forced his hand on these issues. Could a seven-figure ad campaign push Biden and his administration to include mass amnesty as part of the infrastructure package? Let’s hope there’s more common sense than that.
These changes would be disastrous for American workers recovering from the economic crisis wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Unemployment rates for those who would directly compete with unskilled but newly legalized aliens—the bottom quartile of earners—remain disastrously high at 20 percent. Worse still, many large corporations found ways to adapt throughout the pandemic and are not rehiring former workers. Immediately legalizing millions of illegal aliens would be a slap in the face to newly arrived legal immigrants and Americans without high school or college degrees, who often compete against illegal aliens for jobs.
Instead of acquiescing to Big Tech lobbyists, cosmopolitan corporations, and industry-funded libertarians who prioritize profits over people, Biden can and should resist the urge to support the inclusion of amnesty in his infrastructure package. If he doesn’t and the parliamentarian allows it to be included, all eyes will be on Senators Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). Will they stand with the American people or cower in the face of pressure from radical open borders advocates on the far-left fringe of their party? We’ll see.