Build Back Better Act: Massive Dem spending bill includes enormous immigration provisions

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The House version of the Democratic spending bill due to be voted on later this month includes a number of sweeping immigration provisions — even as the chances of them passing the Senate appear to be shrinking.

The House version of the Build Back Better Act, a $1,750,000,000,000 ($1.75 trillion) spending package that Democrats are trying to get through both chambers without needing Republican support, includes a number of provisions on both legal and illegal immigration.

BUILD BACK BETTER ACT: IMMIGRATION PROVISION GRANTS 5-YEAR PAROLE TO SOME MIGRANTS, SHIELDING FROM DEPORTATION

Perhaps most significantly is a provision that would allow for a parole period until 2031 to an estimated 6.8 million illegal immigrants if they were present in the country before 2011. 

Current law says that parole can be used on a case-by-case basis for "urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit" but the Biden administration has been using that power in a much broader fashion. It would allow illegal immigrants not only protection, but also the ability to obtain travel and work permits, as well as state ID.

On aid and public benefits, page 78 of the bill expands student aid eligibility to include some illegal immigrants such as recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protections. 

The bill also repeals social security number requirements for the child tax credit — meaning illegal immigrants would be eligible for the public benefit if they file taxes through an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Illegal immigrants are not eligible for social security numbers.

REPUBLICANS SOUND ALARM ABOUT SWEEPING IMMIGRATION MEASURES IN DEM SPENDING BILL AS HOUSE VOTE NEARS 

When it comes to legal immigration, there are a number of significant measures in that area too, specifically the bill includes language that would "recapture" past family-based and employment-based green cards that were "unused." Specifically, this would be an accounting move to take the difference between the green cards allowed for by Congress and the number actually handed out, and make that number available now. 

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This would apply for each year going back to 1992 — making hundreds of thousands available immediately. Additionally, the legislation allows the Department of Homeland Security to exempt some immigrants from numerical caps placed on green cards all the way up to 2031

Immigration hawks have noted that this is a measure supported by Big Tech companies, and have said that it would undermine American workers.

"At a time when we are actively encouraging students in our home states to work hard, seek STEM skills and aspire to the high-tech jobs of tomorrow, this legislation would create an unending, permanent pipeline of foreign labor for Silicon Valley giants to use in place of aspiring American youth," Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., and Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., said in an op-ed for The Hill.

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However, the immigration provisions could easily be removed from the Senate version. The Senate parliamentarian has repeatedly struck down a number of proposed immigration provisions, saying they are not appropriate for a budget reconciliation bill.

This has led progressives to call on their fellow Democrats to overrule the parliamentarian. But earlier this week, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said that he would not vote to overrule the parliamentarian, and also that he does not support any amnesty provisions that are not accompanied by border security.

Fox Business' Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.

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