Parliamentarian to Americans: Merry Christmas!

Joe Biden and Alejandro Mayorkas

No Amnesty in Build Back Better

After nearly a year of watching President Joe Biden and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas ride roughshod over federal immigration laws, trample the U.S. Constitution and their oaths of office, Senate Republicans finally scored a victory.


Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough gave the GOP a huge helping hand when she rejected for the third time Democrats’ bids to include an amnesty for 8 million illegal immigrants in the administration’s Build Back Better bill. MacDonough said the Democrats’ proposal, as written, would violate the Byrd Rule, which requires all provisions included in the budget reconciliation legislation to be primarily related to budget matters.


The proposed amnesty for illegal aliens required that they must have entered the U.S. before January 1, 2011; those who qualify would receive five-year parole, an immigration status that protects them from deportation, and provides them with affirmative benefits including employment authorization. Of note: legally, parole is issued temporarily and on an emergency humanitarian or significant public benefit basis to individuals residing outside the U.S. Parole should not be unilaterally granted to millions of illegal border crossers, all in one sweeping gesture.


An assist in blocking a Senate vote is owed to West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, who steadfastly refused to endorse BBB because he felt that the bill’s $1.75 trillion price tag is too costly in the current hyper-inflationary era. The Congressional Budget Office’s report that BBB would add, over the next decade, $3 trillion to the deficit also gave Manchin grave concern. Manchin also went on record as saying that he wouldn’t vote to overrule MacDonough, an option the Democrats were, and still are, mulling. Without Manchin’s yea vote on either an overrule or on the standalone legislation, defeat and the subsequent embarrassment to the administration were inevitable.


South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham predicted that BBB is “dead,” not just for 2021, “but forever.” In light of his decades-long experience battling Democrats with few victories to show for his engagements, Graham’s “forever” prediction is surprising. Immediately following the parliamentarian’s ruling, pro-amnesty advocates and some House Democrats began a campaign to pressure Senate Democrats to overrule or disregard MacDonough’s decision.


Mike Fernandez, American Business Immigration Coalition co-chair, bemoaned his rejected-for-the-third time amnesty expectations. With Fernandez and other immigration expansionists’ hopes now dashed, so too are their goals for permanent legalization and citizenship for 8 million deferred action for childhood arrivals, temporary permanent status holders, farmworkers and other vaguely categorized essential workers. “The Senate should not let that stand,” Fernandez railed.


Taking Fernandez’s cue, Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) hinted that Democrats might put forth a fourth attempt for more amnesty options to the parliamentarian for consideration. In a joint statement made shortly after MacDonough’s ruling, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) stated that he would “pursue every means to achieve a path to citizenship” in the bill.


Amnesty plus the unprecedented border crisis would be a devastating double-blow to Americans who want to protect U.S. sovereignty. Syracuse University data found that more than 70 percent of illegal immigrant border crossers remain in the U.S. despite undergoing so-called deportation hearings. But rarely is deportation the end results of the hearings. The Biden administration, by encouraging the illegal entry of 2 million aliens and 600,000 “got-aways,” as well as flying back President Trump-era deportees, is working feverishly to destroy the America that multiple generations treasure, and want to preserve.



Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at