Rep. García Puts Immigration Reform Topline at $126 Billion

Jul 30, 2021
8:16 AM

Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García (Photo by Charles Edward Miller from Chicago, United States/CC BY-SA 2.0)

WASHINGTON, D.C.$126 billion.

That’s the budget topline Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL) tells Latino Rebels is in the budget reconciliation plan backed by Senate Budget Committee chair Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

“Senator Sanders provided $126 billion dollars for ensuring that the cost of a process of legalization incorporating people into our country and providing a pathway to citizenship addresses the fiscal aspects of such an undertaking,” García told Latino Rebels Thursday evening in the Speaker’s Lobby. 

“It’s one of the provisions in the Bernie Plan for reconciliation,” García continued. “He’s been clear on it. We’re close allies. The Progressive Caucus is very much in support of it. I think there’s tremendous support in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus as well. We’re just waiting to hear the latest news to get a sense of the pulse at the White House and the potential for collaboration between the Senate and the House.” 

Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) both indicated to Latino Rebels earlier this month that there was funding for immigration reform in the Senate Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget proposal, but the $126 billion topline is new information.

Senator Sanders’ office did not reply to request for comment, but a growing chorus of moderate and progressive Democrats in the House and Senate expressed support this week for passing the long-elusive pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants through budget reconciliation, a complicated legislative procedure allowed under the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 through which Congress can pass a budget “affecting mainly permanent spending and revenue programs” with the main focus of deficit reduction.

In the upper chamber, Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Sanders have all indicated to Latino Rebels they support including immigration reform in the budget agreement.

On Thursday, President Biden also expressed support for some kind of reconciliation, citing a push to support some form of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) action. Earlier this month, a federal judge ordered an end to DACA for new applicants.

Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough is responsible for interpreting the rules and parliamentary procedures of the upper chamber of Congress. There is a 2005 precedent for including a legalization program for immigrants in budget reconciliation. 

Senator Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) have both told Latino Rebels that they support overruling the parliamentarian, if necessary, should MacDonough advise against a citizenship pathway in this year’s current budget reconciliation agreement. 

“I hope it doesn’t come to that,” Senator Dick Durbin told reporters earlier this month when asked about overriding MacDonough to include immigration reform. 

The presiding officer of the Senate —in the case of a budget reconciliation vote would likely be Vice President Kamala Harris— can overrule a parliamentarian.


Pablo Manríquez is Latino Rebels’ Washington correspondent. He is an immigrant from Santiago de Chile with a political science degree from the University of Notre Dame. The Washington Post calls him “an Internet folk hero.” Twitter: @PabloReports.