Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont talks to reporters as he walks to a vote at the U.S. Capitol on July 21, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images)
Jack Davis August 9, 2021 at 4:36pm
Picture endless green falling from the skies, thanks to Senate Democrats. No, not dollars. That already happened.
Instead, picture millions of green cards being tossed into the hands of a wide variety of illegal immigrants.
That’s the vision of Senate Democrats as they envision the future of immigration in America under the $3.5 trillion laundry list of progressive programs unveiled Monday.
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders of Vermont said the plan will include “green cards to millions of immigrant workers and families.”
Currently, 1.1 million green cards that make individuals legal permanent residents on a path to citizenship are issued each year, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
Sanders tweeted Monday morning that the $3.5 trillion proposal “will bring undocumented people out of the shadows and provide them with a pathway to citizenship, including those who courageously kept our economy running in the middle of a deadly pandemic.”
We will bring undocumented people out of the shadows and provide them with a pathway to citizenship, including those who courageously kept our economy running in the middle of a deadly pandemic.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) August 9, 2021
The Senate proposal is not specific about whom it covers. House Democrats in the past have suggested covering illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. as children, migrant farmworkers and anyone granted Temporary Protected Status due to danger in their home nations, The Hill reported.
According to The Hill’s math, that would be about 10 million people Democrats will put on a path to citizenship.
Last month, Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey estimated that immigration-related items in the $3.5 trillion package would eat up about $120 billion, according to NBC News.
He said his goal is “to be as expansive as we can on immigration reform.”
“How far do we want to go? We want to go as far as we can, assuming the parliamentarian allows it to happen,” Menendez said.
Because the bill is allegedly a budget reconciliation bill, its items need at least some tangential connection to the budget to be included.
“It has tremendous budget effects,” Menendez said. “It will provide revenue to the federal Treasury because of the fees and taxes people will pay. It will also have some costs.”
Republicans say that the immigration pieces of the plan may not fit.
“Reconciliation is designed as a budget thing and not necessarily a policy issue. So I think they’re going to have a very difficult time getting immigration in,” Republican Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota said.
The $3.5 trillion proposal will include giving everyone free community college education, expanding Obamacare and creating a universal pre-K funding stream, according to a summary of the proposal.
Do Democrats want to devalue American citizenship?
So far, only the broad outlines exist. In the coming week, the Senate and its committees will start filling in the blanks with the goal of a Sept. 15 completion date, Politico reported.
Democrats will ram their proposal home through a process known as budget reconciliation so that they can avoid needing any Republican support. Democrats want all 50 senators in their caucus to support the bill and then have Vice President Kamala Harris break a tie vote in their favor.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement on Monday the bill offers “[n]ew permanent welfare with no work requirements when small businesses are already struggling to find workers.”
“Sweeping amnesty when the southern border is already in crisis. Green New Deal regulations when Americans’ gas prices have already shot up. Crushing tax hikes for family businesses and farms as they fight to recover from the recession.”