RAICES blasts Senate Parliamentarian’s anti-immigrant ruling: Democrats can’t put the lives of millions of immigrants in the hands of a former deporter

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, December 16, 2021
Press Contact: Jessica Ortiz, [email protected]

“Democrats must grow a backbone and wage a real fight — no excuse for inaction.”

San Antonio, TX – In response to the Senate Parliamentarian’s ruling regarding the immigration provisions in the budget reconciliation package, or the ‘Build Back Better’ plan, currently in the U.S. Senate, RAICES released the following statement from Erika Andiola, Chief Advocacy Officer:

“Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough’s anti-immigrant ruling is a surprise to no one,” said Erika Andiola, Chief Advocacy Officer for RAICES. “This is the third time in the past few months that an unelected bureaucrat, and former deporter, has ruled against the inclusion of immigration provisions in the budget reconciliation bill.”

“Now, we need Democrats to do something they have routinely failed to do under the current administration and the previous Democratic administrations: Grow a backbone and wage a real fight to protect our communities,” Andiola asserted. “Despite the ruling today, Democrats still have numerous avenues and the tools needed to deliver safety to the millions of immigrants living in daily uncertainty. There is no excuse for inaction.”

“We are watching, we will remember what Democrats do in this moment, and we will continue to fight for a pathway to citizenship for all,” continued Andiola. “Democrats have blamed fractures in the progressive movement for their failure to take action on immigration for years. We cannot allow them to use the same tired excuses or hide behind the Parliamentarian’s decision to avoid their responsibilities and commitments to our community.”

“What’s most disconcerting about this ‘ruling’ is that Senate Parliamentarian MacDonough is a former INS deporter who can’t be trusted to make an impartial decision on immigration issues,” said Andiola. “If Democrats put the lives of millions of undocumented immigrants in her hands now by accepting this decision after years of promising to protect us, our families will pay the price and Democrats will risk alienating the Black, Brown, and ally communities who gave them control of Congress and the White House in 2020.”

“Senate Democrats have the power to deliver on protection for immigrants if they have the courage to lead now,” continued Andiola. “Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer, and Vice President Kamala Harris can overrule the Parliamentarian, fire the Parliamentarian, or abolish the filibuster. President Biden can use executive action to protect our communities. There’s no excuse.”

“The bottom line is, undocumented immigrants deserve citizenship and the freedom to live without fear,” concluded Andiola. “Democrats have promised citizenship to us for decades when mobilizing our communities to win elections, and they have the power to deliver on that promise now, regardless of Macdonough’s ruling.”

Before becoming the Senate Parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough worked as a trial attorney handling immigration cases for the U.S. Department of Justice. As someone who has worked to deport people, she cannot be trusted to rule objectively on immigration issues. Read more here.

The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency that promotes justice by providing free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families, and refugees. Learn more at