Release: Path to Budget Reconciliation–Including Citizenship for Millions–Runs Through RGV Congressional Delegation

August 20, 2021

For Immediate Release

Contact: John-Michael Torres, 956-784-0086,

Will Our Members of Congress Be A Roadblock?

SAN JUAN, TX – Rio Grande Valley Members of Congress have a historic opportunity to deliver a roadmap to Citizenship for undocumented immigrants this year, thanks to the inclusion of Citizenship provisions in budget reconciliation, which has already cleared an initial hurdle in the US Senate. 

Now, the budget resolution that opens the door for a roadmap to Citizenship's eventual inclusion in budget legislation heads to a narrowly divided House, where Democrats can only lose three votes and still prevail.

That means conservative Democrats like Congressman Henry Cuellar hold outsized influence over the process. And Rep. Cuellar may be gearing up to use his influence to derail budget reconciliation, and in the process, slam the breaks on Citizenship provisions, as well as many other popular provisions, like establishing universal pre-k and expanding Medicare coverage. Two other House democrats from the RGV, Rep. Gonzalez and Rep Vela, are following his lead.

Why It Matters: Congressman Cuellar has a history of lending “bipartisan support” to right-wing efforts to block a pathway to Citizenship on behalf of corporate donors that would rather keep workers undocumented and exploitable.

Is Congressman Cuellar again siding with anti-immigrant politicians and his corporate donors to be a roadblock to Citizenship? And will Congressmen Gonzalez and Vela continue to follow Cuellar’s lead at the expense of their constituents?

The Opportunity – Citizenship in Budget Reconciliation

  • We have a historic opportunity for Congress to deliver on a visionary budget which includes a pathway to citizenship for millions of Dreamers, TPS holders, farmworkers and other essential workers.
  • The Senate has already voted to include Citizenship in budget reconciliation.
  • By including a roadmap to Citizenship in the budget resolution, Congress is one step closer to advancing long overdue protections that are popular, critical to an equitable recovery and will strengthen our communities and economy.

The Threat – Cuellar, RGV Delegation Positioned to Derail Process

  • Recently, nine Democrats–including Reps Cuellar, Gonzalez, and Vela–stated they will oppose the reconciliation bill unless the recently-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill gets a vote first.
  • Democrats have a three-member majority in the US House, so four members can successfully carry out this threat.

The Timeline

  • The Senate voted to approve the budget resolution on August 11th, thereby advancing budget reconciliation to the US House.
  • The House will vote to advance budget reconciliation the week of August 23rd, when the nine Democrats have threatened to vote it down.
  • Drafts of specific provisions, including who will be eligible for a path to Citizenship, are set to be delivered by September 15th.
  • After those markups, the House will vote on budget reconciliation first, likely at the end of September or beginning of October.
  • Finally, the Senate will have a second vote-a-rama and then have a final vote on budget reconciliation after their own markups.

What RGV Members of Congress do in each of those moments will either help or hinder Congress’s ability to finally deliver a roadmap to Citizenship.

Cuellar’s History of Lending “Bipartisan Support” to Block Progress

  • Congressman Cuellar has a history of lending “bipartisan support” to right-wing efforts to block a pathway to Citizenship on behalf of corporate donors that would rather keep workers undocumented and exploitable.
  • When immigrants and their allies have gotten close to winning a path to Citizenship, Rep. Cuellar has thrown his weight behind:
  • Donald Trump's border wall
  • Legislation that would fast-track the deportation of vulnerable people seeking protection
  • House Republican efforts to derail the Dream Act by instead advancing a bill that would incarcerate and deport immigrant youth with contact with the racist criminal legal system

What To Watch Out For

  • The vote on the budget resolution in the House the week of August 23rd — Will Cuellar and other RGV Members of Congress vote to advance or block?
  • House markup of budget reconciliation – Will Cuellar insist on harmful and divisive border measures that fast-track deportations of asylum seekers, prolong the detention of children, and prioritize expulsions over protections, like his HUMANE Act and Bipartisan Border Solutions Act.

Undocumented youth, farmworkers and essential workers are calling on Rep. Cuellar to deliver a roadmap to Citizenship this year. Will he follow our lead? Or will he once again side with anti-immigrant politicians and his corporate donors to block immigrant justice?


LUPE is a nonprofit organization that helps the community organize for and win a better quality of life. LUPE was founded in 1989 by farmworker and civil rights leaders Cesar E. Chavez and Dolores Huerta. We are a membership-based organization and our strength is found in the participation of our over eight thousand members.