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24 House Republicans urge Biden to reject Dems' amnesty push in $3.5 trillion budget bill

July 21, 2021

EXCLUSIVETwo dozen House Republicans on Wednesday wrote to President Biden urging him to reject a move by Democratic lawmakers to include amnesty for some illegal immigrants in their budget reconciliation proposal, warning that Biden’s support would betray his prior promises to promote unity.

"Your candidacy for President was based on promises of ‘unity’ for all Americans," the letter, led by Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., said. "Yet amnesty would be another in a long line of examples of the most radical policy agenda from a President in modern American history.

Democrats announced last week they have agreed to a $3.5 trillion budget resolution, which would advance a number of top liberal priorities. By using the reconciliation process, the legislation can be passed with only a simple majority and avoid any GOP filibuster, meaning that if Democrats vote as a bloc, the legislation can pass.

Rep. Pramila Japayal, D-Wash., later said the resolution will include a pathway to citizenship for "Dreamers, TPS [Temporary Protected Status], essential workers, and farmworkers."

By "Dreamers," Democrats are using an activist-preferred term for recipients or those eligible for the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program, which protected immigrants who came to the country illegally as children from deportation. 

TPS recipients are those from countries where it is deemed unsafe for them to return due to armed ongoing conflict, environmental disasters or "extraordinary and temporary conditions."

There have been multiple pushes to include these categories for citizenship pathways in legislation, as well as for farmworkers in the U.S. illegally. Democrats have previously pushed for "essential workers" to be included -- a term defined broadly in past legislation -- and previously called for Biden to include such legislation in a prior spending package. 

But Republicans have pointed to the ongoing crisis at the border, with massive amount of migrants as well as drugs like fentanyl coming the border. While such amnesty packages would not apply to new entrants, Republicans have argued that such a move would still incentivize more migrants to come to the U.S.

"Including amnesty for millions of illegal aliens in this reconciliation package further exacerbates and incentivizes Biden’s raging border invasion, converting it into a permanent crisis," Good said in a statement. "Using reconciliation circumvents any objections to amnesty. My letter urges President Biden to stop pandering to the radical left and put the safety and security of the American people first."

The letter accuses the administration of supporting initiatives "that appear designed to lead to a one-party Democrat rule" and point to massive spending as well as a "federal election takeover" -- and argues that the administration’s invocation of Jim Crow and the Civil War in opposition to Republican-supported voter I.D. laws further undercuts those promises of unity.

"Rejecting calls to inject amnesty into reconciliation would be a meaningful sign that you are finally willing to find common ground with your political opponents," the letter says.

"Everyday Americans we represent are tired of observing your party’s crusade to end voter I.D. laws while at the same time going to every length to expand their ranks of voters by millions through amnesty," the lawmakers say. "The citizens of this country are smarter than you think, they see this is about one thing: a partisan power grab."

Biden has previously supported legislation that would grant pathways to citizenship to many illegal immigrants in the country. On Saturday, after DACA was ruled illegal by a federal judge, Biden responded by urging lawmakers to pass a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients.

"It is my fervent hope that through reconciliation or other means, Congress will finally provide security to all Dreamers, who have lived too long in fear," Biden said.