Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled against the democrats’ effort to include an immigration reform effort in their $3.5 trillion spending plan.
Democrats and republicans made their cases before MacDonough over a week ago, NPR reports. Democrats argued that immigration reform would raise the budget deficit by about $139 billion, which would justify including it in the reconciliation process.
In her ruling, MacDonough said such an immigration policy change would “far outweigh the budgetary impact scored to it and it is not appropriate for inclusion in reconciliation.”
“The reasons that people risk their lives to come to this country – to escape religious and political persecution, famine, war, unspeakable violence and lack of opportunity in their home countries – cannot be measured in federal dollars,” she said.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and other democrats shared their disappointment.
“Despite putting their lives on the line during the pandemic and paying their fair share of taxes, they remain locked out of the federal assistance that served as a lifeline for so many families,” Schumer said in a statement. “We will continue fighting to pursue the best path forward to grant them the ability to obtain lawful status.”
To no surprise, republicans celebrated the ruling.
“I believe that using the reconciliation process to provide legal status to illegal immigrants would be a disaster,” South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said. “It would have led to an increased run on the border – beyond the chaos we already have there today.”