Wednesday, September 29, 2021
For many years, Congress has discussed various forms of immigration reform. With budget reconciliation out of the question, Democrats in Congress continue to look for possibilities. Updating registry to provide a realistic path for legalization of undocumented immigrants has been discussed. As Kit Johnson has blogged with respect to immigration reform Plan B, the clamor for updating registry continues. See this article by Nolan Rappaport on The Hill.
Immigration and Nationality Act § 249 provides for registry, a record of admission for lawful permanent residence for undocumented persons who entered the United States prior to January 1, 1972. That is a long time ago and the number of noncitizens eligible for it decreases as time passes. The date was last updated in 1986 and commentators have long said that the time is overdue for moving the registry date forward. Background materials on registry can be found here and here.
Updating registry would be a quick fix and address one important aspect of immigration reform. As Rappaport notes, "there is a lot of room for compromise on a registry provision update. The current date limits registry to undocumented immigrants who have been here for 49 years. The Republicans should be willing to make that date more reasonable without demanding extreme border security or interior enforcement measures."
UPDATE (9/29 4:00 p.m. PST): The Senate parliamentarian has rejected the inclusion of registry in a budget reconciliation bill. Hat tip to Nolan Rappaport!