AN IMMIGRATION REFORM CLOSER THAN EVER

José López Zamorano | La Red Hispana 
Photo Credit: La Red Hispana

Without fanfare, not even a press conference, the Senate Democratic majority quietly introduced this week what could be a landmark budget reconciliation bill that resurrects, if all goes well, the possibility of immigration reform – with a path to citizenship – which could benefit millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States.

The immigration reform is part of the gigantic 3.5 trillion-dollar budget package of social spending, which complements the physical infrastructure plan of more than 1 trillion dollars, which seeks to create millions of jobs by renovating schools, roads, bridges, railways etc., enabling most of the country with high-speed Internet access and improving water quality.

While no details are yet available on the potential universe of immigration reform beneficiaries, Democrats have put Dreamers, essential workers, particularly farmworkers, and beneficiaries of temporary protected status (TPS) at the forefront, where the majority of eligible people are Central Americans.

Polls consistently continue to show that an overwhelming majority of the US population is in favor of some form of legalization for the country’s undocumented immigrants.

We have been close to immigration reform in other political cycles. But right now, the reason for optimism about the possibility of passing immigration reform is obvious: Because it was included as part of the reconciliation process, the bill does not require support from Republican senators.

However, this is not to say that reaching immigration reform is equivalent to a brisk walk in the park.

First, it requires the Parliamentarian of the United States Senate to authorize the consideration of an immigration plan as part of a budget package. Democrats put a bill of $ 107 billion on it, and there are compelling economic arguments that legalizing millions of people could attract undoubted additional tax benefits.

Another stone in the way includes maintaining unity within the Democratic ranks. Despite what many people think, the Democrats are not an ideological political monolith. Progressive Democratic legislators openly support immigration reform, others representing more conservative states seek to avoid political risks in their respective elections.

All of which makes it necessary to revive a great campaign of awareness and public mobilization to defend an elementary act of justice: the workers in the field, the packing companies, service industry, the DREAMers, the migrants have been the backbone that has kept this country standing during the pandemic. They deserve a dignified, humane and permanent solution. Nothing more, nothing less.

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