As I wrote last week, a group of pro-migrant groups protested at the HQ of the Harris County Democratic Party demanding they publicly support and join the demand for VP Kamala Harris and Congressional Dems to ignore the advice of the parliamentarian to not include portions of immigration reform in the budget reconciliation, thus including it in the reconciliation.
Although no one from within the doors of HCDP responded on the day of the protest, HCDP joined the groups this past week to agree that the parliamentary advice should be ignored and immigration reform be passed through the reconciliation bill.
Stated County Chair Odus Evbagahru:
“We have some friends here…. Last week, they came to our office; they were protesting & making sure that we’re living what we’re speaking & that we’re really intentional about that,” he said, welcoming reps from with Workers Defense Action Fund, Fiel Houston & Crecen.
“We need immigration reform now…. We can’t do it while our government is being obstructed. We’ve got to push…and we’ve got to push here at the local level. We’ve had these Parliamentarian rulings. We’ve had these filibusters that have been obstructing justice and obstructing progress. And we want to get rid of those because we know the importance of the lives at stake.”
We’ve got to make sure our voices are being heard; we’ve got to be sure that we are taking action and we’ve got to — as the Democratic Party — stand up and stand behind our folks who are asking for these actions to be delivered.”
President Joe Biden called for including an overhaul in the budget reconciliation originally, but it was suggested by the parliamentarian that it not be included as it would not have a budgetary impact as required by Senate rules. President Biden and Senate Dems are attempting to include some sort of immigration reform.
Mr. Biden’s plan would recapture hundreds of thousands of unused visas dating back to 1992 and protect millions of undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States for years from deportation. It also includes $2.8 billion for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to more efficiently process migrants’ paperwork.
Senate Democrats have embraced a backup plan to expand the Homeland Security secretary’s authority to grant a temporary status known as parole to undocumented immigrants who have lived in the country for a decade, providing them with work permits and shielding them from deportation. The work permits would last five years, and then would need to be renewed for another five. The parliamentarian has not yet ruled on that proposal.
There is work to be done on a more complete immigration package which provides a path to citizenship and/or permanent residency, rather than a piecemeal and temporary permit approach that could change with a new administration. Where that lies in Biden’s and Congress’s priorities is still to be determined.
For now, it would seem that continued protest and calling out leaders at all levels works, even a little. It’s the ones who whine and moan about protests that we should distrust. Ultimately, the ballot box will determine who gets to stay in Congress and these pro-migrant leaders will remind us who is on the right side of history. (Looking at you, Synema and Manchin!)