Asylum-seeking migrant families wait to be transported by the U.S. Border Patrol after crossing the Rio Grande river into the United States from Mexico in La Joya, Texas, April 27, 2021. (Go Nakamura/Reuters)
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) told members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that he is “actively exploring” ways to grant citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants via budget reconciliation, two people familiar with the discussions told the New York Times.
Passing such legislation via budget reconciliation rules would require a simple majority vote in the Senate, rather than the filibuster-proof threshold of 60 votes required for most legislation. Schumer is reportedly considering passing the citizenship bill along with President Biden’s infrastructure bill via reconciliation, should negotiations over a standalone immigration bill break down.
However, it is unclear whether the move would receive approval of the Senate parliamentarian, who interprets and arbitrates Senate rules and procedures. Senator John Cornyn (R., Texas) was skeptical that the parliamentarian would allow legislation to legalize undocumented immigrants to pass via budget reconciliation.
“I think they’re dreaming; I don’t think the parliamentarian will allow that. That’s not really the purpose of reconciliation,” Cornyn told the Times.