Immigrants Hope Registry saves immigration bill


When the Senate parliamentarian told Democrats they couldn’t include their immigration provisions in a reconciliation bill, members of Congress and staff have turned to Plan B. This Plan B will likely include the “register”. What date of registration is chosen and whether the parliamentarian will allow its use in a reconciliation bill will affect the lives of millions of people. If done correctly, the registry could help applicants for employment-based immigrant green cards who have already entered and live in America.

“Senate MP Elizabeth MacDonough, a former immigration lawyer, shut down the possibility of granting 8 million people the right to apply for lawful permanent residence, determining in a notice on Sunday that she was not respecting the Senate rules for the budget reconciliation package because it was a policy change that went far beyond the budget, ”reported The hill. “The decision is critical because, under Senate rules, filibuster cannot be used to block a reconciliation plan, which means the policy changes included in the massive plan can become law if Democrats can get 50 votes from their own caucus in the Senate. While MacDonough’s ruling rules out the possibility of an easy legalization process for specific subgroups of immigrants, advocates are confident their saving arguments will sway MacDonough.

A likely “saving argument” for the parliamentarian is to change the registration date, an action that could benefit people here with legal status as well as those without status. Below is an overview of the most important issues regarding the registry.

How does the registry work? : The registry has been part of immigration law for almost a century. “The registry is a provision of immigration law that allows certain unauthorized aliens in the United States to acquire lawful permanent resident status,” explains the Congress Research Service. “He grants the Attorney General [now the Secretary of Homeland Security] the discretion to create a legal admission record for permanent residence for an alien who does not have such a record, resided continuously in the United States prior to January 1, 1972, and meets other specified requirements. The provision on the register has its origin in a law of 1929.

“The registry would help a whole bunch of people, and the only criteria would be that the person entered the United States on a particular date and resided continuously from that date in the United States,” the attorney said. Immigration Minister Cyrus Mehta in an interview. “They could apply for an adjustment of status and the government could impose additional fees or super-fees that would generate revenue for the United States. The person must also demonstrate good character and certain violations of criminal, smuggling, narcotics and other inadmissibility laws apply. Exemptions that exist under the INA [Immigration and Nationality Act] because these grounds for inadmissibility would apply even to a request for regularization at the registry.

“Unlike previous immigration provisions which were rejected by the parliamentarian, it is not necessary to establish that you entered the United States before age 18 or that you are an essential worker or that you have a petition I-130 or I-140 approved. A qualified candidate must prove that they entered the United States before the deadline, which is January 1, 1972, under current law [INA Section 249] and has resided continuously since that date.

Who would be included depends on the date: A report by estimated that moving the registration date to January 1, 2011 would allow approximately 6.7 million people to be eligible for permanent residence.

If Democrats want to push back “amnesty” charges for moving the registration date to January 1, 2011, an argument could be made to move the date much closer to the present to help those in arrears on hold. legal immigration.

“I fully agree that the date will be postponed to January 1, 2021, so that the new provision can help as many people as possible who were waiting to either regularize their status or obtain a green card.” , Mehta said. “The fees that can be collected for each Section 249 adjustment request will generate billions of dollars in revenue for the treasury [depending on the fee set]. There are no quotas or ceilings for registered green cards. “

Would the parliamentarian authorize the registry? : “A simple provision simply modifying the date of registration and adding significant costs as a ‘tax penalty’ cannot be removed by the parliamentarian”, argues Leon Fresco, who previously worked in the Senate as the Director of Personnel of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Senior Advisor to Senator Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.). “This provision, if the fees are high enough, would in fact be the most deficit-reducing measure in the past two decades.”

Others are not so sure that the parliamentarian will approve the change of the registration date in a reconciliation bill. “It is difficult to say whether the parliamentarian will accept this alternative proposal,” said Cyrus Mehta. “She should do it this time because the Immigration and Nationality Law is not substantially changed and no new category is created in which people can apply for adjustment of status.” All that is happening is that the deadline will drop from January 1, 1972 to a more recent date. “

Another lawyer pointed out that the parliamentarian did not deny that there were financial advantages to including immigration measures in a reconciliation bill, but the parliamentarian said that the advantages inherent in legalization for individuals are more important. In other words, it was not a cost-benefit analysis but a cost argument. relative to the advantage, and assert the advantage [legalization] far outweighs the financial gain. In view of this argument, it is not clear whether changing the recording date would meet the parliamentarian’s standard.

Changing the recording date would benefit millions of people. If the date chosen was closer to January 1, 2021, it would cover people waiting for their family and work green card inside the United States.

(Update: On September 29, 2021, the parliamentarian of the Senate rejected the inclusion of an update to the date of the immigration register in a reconciliation bill. “The number of beneficiaries and the score of this amendment… are largely the same as those of the proposal to radically change the balance between politics and score, ”said the parliamentarian, according to the the Wall Street newspaper. The parliamentarian added: “The change of status in [lawful permanent resident] remains a change in circumstances throughout life, the value of which far exceeds its budgetary impact. “)

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