An Amendment to the Budget Are DIVIDING Democrats

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The immigration status of those that are seeking to receive the new stimulus checks are dividing democrats as eight Senate Democrats supported an amendment to the Senate’s budget.

During the last week’s session, eight Democratic Senators supported the amendment to the Senate’s budget that would prohibit undocumented immigrants from receiving stimulus checks. This vote includes one Democratic leader, Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich), the chair of the party’s campaign arm Gary Peters (D-Mich.), and senators up for reelection.

However, some Democrats and activists worry that the amendment could block children and spouses of undocumented immigrants from receiving checks, this lead to 42 Democrats opposing the effort to amend the budget.

Senate Majority Whip Duck Durbin (D-Ill), stated in an interview that there was confusion about what the amendment to the budget did and regretted having only 60 seconds to debate about it due to the rapid pacing of the votes. Durbin also worries that the approval of the amendment in the bill could stop checks from going to spouses or children of undocumented immigrants that are currently in line to receive them.

Durbin said, “Neither Biden nor any Democrat is proposing in this package to give any money to any undocumented person. The question is if you are the legal child, citizen of the United States, of an undocumented person, should you receive a check? I say yes.”

The Senator also added that in case the issue comes up again, he would certainly take some time to try and explain it to those who voted otherwise.

This particular issue highlights the challenges that Biden will face as he tries to muscle through his first major legislative work with tight majorities and various vulnerable incumbents on the ballot in 2022. However, it is not yet clear if the immigration provision, if ever included in the bill, would lead to a greater opposition against the coronavirus relief package.

Meanwhile, the national president for the League of United Latin American Citizens, Domingo Garcia said “Immigration is still sort of the third-rail of American politics. We still have a lot of work to do in convincing a lot of senators in purple states.”

On the other hand, Republicans are eager to drive a wedge between the Democratic party by choosing them off to support their offer. Last Monday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pointed out that “over some Democrats’ objections the Senate said illegal immigrants should not receive stimulus checks.”

The proposal made by Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind) last week would prevent stimulus checks or tax breaks from going to undocumented immigrants. The Republican party can offer the same proposal in the future amendment votes on the $1.9 Trillion relief bill that the Democrats are creating.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) also added that he expected his party to offer it again at the next opportunity, more likely in the next several weeks.

The last round of stimulus checks allows mixed-status families to receive stimulus checks. This move is a departure from the first round of checks given last spring.

Meanwhile, the executive director of United We Dream Action, Greisa Martinez Rosas stated that the eight Democrats who supported the Young amendment, “allowed themselves to be used as a tool to advance Republicans’ white nationalist agenda.”

However, when Peters was asked about his vote, he described Young’s proposal as nothing more than a “gotcha amendment,” stating that it didn’t have substance behind it. He also added that the amendment was irrelevant since “the folks who are undocumented are not part of the [Biden] proposal.”

A spokesperson for Sen. Kyrsten Sinema said that the Arizona Democrat “voted to uphold what is currently law, which does not allow individuals without work-eligible social security numbers to receive stimulus payments.”