The CBO decided in November that almost 6.5 million noncitizens who live in the U.S. mostly as a result of illegally passing the southern border before January 2011 would be given parole and go from being unlawfully present to lawfully present. The proposal would be the largest-ever pardon, double the one that transpired during the Reagan administration in 1986. The term amnesty cites is being pardoned, in this case for the federal offense of illegally entering the country between ports of entry and residing in the U.S. without permission.
“Many of those parolees would subsequently receive lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. A few million other people, most of whom are already in the United States, would gain LPR status through the provisions ... or as immediate relatives of those who gain LPR status under the bill,” the CBO stated in its review of H.R. 5376.
All parolees and lawful permanent residents are eligible for a number of federal benefits programs, including payments for health insurance under Obamacare, Medicaid, the earned income and child tax credits, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Social Security, and Medicare.
Approximately 3 million of the 6.5 million would be fit to become lawful permanent residents, the need for applying to become a U.S. citizen.
The Migration Policy Institute in Washington estimated in a Nov. 24 brief that up to 7.2 million noncitizens could be granted the ability to live and work in the country.
The conservative Center for Immigration Studies concluded that the bill doing away with the requirement that children have a Social Security number for a parent to take the child tax credit could result in $10.5 billion being paid out.
Democrats initially advocated for language in the bill that would have transitioned illegal immigrants to lawful permanent resident status, allowing them to apply for citizenship. The Senate parliamentarian barred the provision, prompting Democrats to pick up the parole language, which allows illegal immigrants to become lawful permanent residents later. The Immigration and Nationality Act requires that parole be used on a case by case basis by the Department of Homeland Security.
While Democrats have ruled over the Senate parliamentarian, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia broke with his party. Manchin and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema are two of the chamber’s 50 Democrats and would have to be on board for the bill to pass with 51 votes.
"I'm not going to vote to overrule the parliamentarian," Manchin told Fox News in early November.
If the Senate revises the bill, the House will have to vote again on the changes.