WASHINGTON, D.C. — Immigrant parole, part of the Build Back Better bill passed by the House on November 19, does not provide a pathway to citizenship but does grant temporary permission to live, work, and travel to and from the United States for immigrants who qualify. And Democrats on Capitol Hill agree that immigrant parole would decrease inflation.
“We need workers in this economy,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) told Latino Rebels on Thursday. “(If) you want to grow the GDP then workers are at the heart of that. And this is one path to get the workers here in the United States able to come out of the shadows, take these jobs, pay taxes, and help us grow the economy.”
Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) understands inflation at the immigrant community level. The three-term Congressman from Los Angeles has a diverse immigrant constituency from Koreatown to Eagle Rock, Boyle Heights to Downtown.
“If you have more people that are allowed to work in this country, then there’s gonna be less of a tight labor market,” said Gomez on Thursday, echoing Warren. “You also have a lot more people being taken advantage of in the informal economy who are gonna have real paychecks.”
Inflationary pressures have driven up prices, with the consumer price index surging 6.2 percent in October over the previous year—the highest increase in more than 30 years. “Not enough people are seeking jobs,” Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) explained. “As a consequence, that drives up the cost of doing business and the cost to the consumers. If there are more workers doing their jobs, it’s deflationary.”
Senate Democrats are facing down a legislative traffic jam of defense spending, government funding, and finally budget reconciliation, where immigrant relief remains on the table.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates the new program will enroll 6.5 million immigrants who will get work authorization, permission to travel, and protection from ICE for a decade. Three million will get green cards.
The proposal, designed by Washington, D.C.-based lobby shop Immigration Hub, has a lot to offer undocumented immigrants who were promised a path to full citizenship by Democrats on the campaign trail last year.
“I reject the false notion that the only way to keep consumer prices low is to rely on low-wage, unregulated labor,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). “More stable and reliable work is the key to future supply chain resiliency.”
“The Build Back Better Act includes work permits and protections for individuals who have been essential workers during this global pandemic,” Brown added. “Not only is this the right thing to do for workers who have been on the front lines for the past 18 months – but this will also help us get the economy back on track.”
Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), another House Democrat with a large immigrant constituency, calls immigration “a desperate workforce issue, especially in construction.”
“It’s a supply chain issue, but nobody denies that,” said Grijalva. “If you talk to these businesses, they’re also going to talk about workforce and their inability to keep the capacity of workers up. Work permits would help a lot.”
Pablo Manríquez is the Washington correspondent for Latino Rebels. Twitter: @PabloReports