Activists plan last-ditch effort to pressure Senate Democrats to act on immigration reform

NOW: Activists plan last-ditch effort to pressure Senate Democrats to act on immigration reform


MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Ahead of an expected House vote on President Joe Biden's social spending plan, immigrant advocacy groups plan to pressure Democrats to act on a rapidly closing window of opportunity to include immigration reform proposals in the bill.

Proposals that would pave a pathway to citizenship for millions of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, farm workers and essential workers hit a road block when the Senate parliamentarian said the reforms could not go through the budget reconciliation process. That process allows Senate Democrats to push the bill through without Republican support.

In an Oct. 20 letter to Senate Majority Chuck Schumer from more than 40 House Democrats, the progressives encouraged Senate leadership to ignore the parliamentarian and move ahead with including the immigration policies. "The role of the Parliamentarian is an advisory one, and the opinion off the Parliamentarian is not a binding one," the letter said, indicating Senate Democrats could overrule the parliamentarian.

Wisconsin group Voces de la Frontera agrees and is planning to hold a rally on Thursday, Oct. 28 in front of Senator Tammy Baldwin's Milwaukee office.

"Our message to Senator Baldwin, because she has a leadership position in the Senate and the vote is key there, is to really champion this and to come out publicly and say that Democrats should disregard the parliamentarian's decision and they should deliver the promise of citizenship," Christine Neumann-Ortiz, the group's executive director, told CBS 58 in an interview.

Baldwin supports the immigration reforms and is working with other Democrats to find other ways to push the proposals through. Democrats are also working on a watered down version that may still be included in the reconciliation bill which would provide temporary status to some undocumented immigrants.

CBS 58 reached out to Sen. Baldwin's office for comment on this topic but did not hear back.

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