The month began with promise. House Democrats worked on creating a pathway to citizenship through the budget reconciliation plan. This legislation aimed to allow about 8 million people (primarily Dreamers, TPS/DED holders, farmworkers, and other essential workers) to apply for green cards. Furthermore, the provision would invest $2.8 billion into U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, recapture unused green cards, and allow diversity visa lottery winners to reapply if they had been denied visas due to COVID or other travel restrictions. However, this past Sunday, the Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough advised against the immigration measure, ruling it inappropriate for inclusion.
Rejecting MacDonough’s ruling as an end to immigration reform via budget reconciliation, thousands of immigrants appeared in Washington to push back on Tuesday. Their march began in Banneker Park, by the Potomac River, stopped at the headquarters of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and finally ended at the Capitol Reflecting Pool. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer talked to protestors outside the Capitol, promising them his continued commitment to the fight for a pathway to citizenship. At the same rally, Representative Ilhan Omar urged Schumer and the White House to disregard the advice of the Senate parliamentarian. The fate of the provisions is still unknown, but the people have spoken. Let’s hope their voices are heard and their demands for justice finally met.