The Senate has approved a $3.5 trillion budget resolution that would provide an opportunity for millions of undocumented workers to live in the United States.
The Senate has successfully passed a $3.5 trillion budget resolution to widen the safety net for thousands of Americans as the pandemic continues to rage across the United States. In addition to expanding health care, providing free preschool and community college, and funding climate change programs, the "robust" and bi-partisan resolution will create a path for citizenship for hundreds of undocumented immigrants currently residing in the country. As per the resolution, an allocation of $105 billion has been set apart exclusively for this purpose. Now, the resolution will head to the House of Representatives, where it is expected to face much resistance, The New York Times reports.
Much of the funds to fulfill the resolution will come from higher taxes on wealthy Americans and corporations. When it is debated in the House, policymakers will configure the implementing language for the provision of a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Other elements of the bill will also be drafted and voted upon. While decisions within the House are unpredictable, previous votes on the legal status for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, farmworkers, and other essential workers are likely to offer a good roadmap for the language the Senate Judiciary Committee will propose. Thankfully, due to a process known as reconciliation (as implemented by the Congressional Budget Act of 1974), only a majority vote is required to move forward, thus bypassing the archaic filibuster.
The $3.5 trillion budget resolution now offers an opportunity for millions of undocumented workers to live in the United States with dignity and humanity. Among other benefits, the resolution is expected to close wage gaps, increase access to a wider variety of jobs, and improve the ability of families to own homes and start businesses. Furthermore, the benefits of legalization will also be extended to the nation as a whole. For instance, the National Immigration Law Center estimates that legalizing immigrants' presence will increase GDP by up to 0.9 percent, due to an additional $90 to $210 billion added to the American economy over a period of 10 years. This is particularly true as undocumented immigrants form the backbone of the essential industries workforce, especially in health care, food distribution, and production.
US Senate passed budget resolution with commitment to paths to US citizenship for Dreamers, TPS holders, farm workers, essential workers. Now this goes to the House. I urge my Senators and Rep. Steny Hoyer to support immigration reform with budget reconciliation! #WeAreHome— Helen Beneš Kaiser (@helena_benes) August 19, 2021
Sinthia, a DACA recipient, is one of the many undocumented immigrants who will benefit from the resolution. "I used to think that celebrating the 4th of July was a way of saying, 'Hey, I am American too,'" she affirmed in a video for FWD.us, a bipartisan political organization working to reform America’s broken immigration and criminal justice systems. "This is my home and I belong." Her parents immigrated to the state of Utah from Mexico in search of a better life when she was three or four years old. Her parents, who work at a nursing home, continued to go into work during the pandemic despite the high risk involved; several residents at the home had tested positive for the Coronavirus. The young woman explained, "It was a rough time... Here is this man and this woman who are so dedicated and hardworking, and still they were not able to receive any of the COVID relief that many of the rest of us were able to even though they were essential workers." The resolution will give Sinthia's parents, and others like them, an opportunity to access the benefits they rightfully deserve.