Immigration advocates joined a press call on February 16th, to stress the critical need for the Biden administration to continue on their promises of sweeping legislative proposals that would ensure legalization for immigrants is included in the next COVID-19/economic recovery package. On day one, President Biden led with historic actions leaning into pro-immigrant legislative plans, making immigration issues a priority, and unifying Democrats around a series of proposals, including legislation to create a road map to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants. Immigrants have always been essential, but their contributions and sacrifices have never been more clearly recognized or sorely needed than during the past year, which is why the administration should press on for relief aid for immigrant workers.
“I am a proud son of farmworkers, who worked day in and day out with calloused hands and tired backs to give their children opportunities they never had. I know the sacrifices that farmworkers make to feed America, and now, as a public health expert, I have seen their vulnerability to COVID-19 firsthand,” said Rep. Raul Ruiz (CA-36), Chairman, Congressional Hispanic Caucus. “Essential workers who risk their lives for us are indispensable, and they should be treated as such by our immigration system. As we look to recover from this pandemic, we must recognize the moral imperative to prioritize a pathway to citizenship for essential workers. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus will continue to work towards its goal until all immigrant essential workers who call América home have a chance to become US citizens. Immigrants fuel our economy, work in every American industry, and reflect the best of América’s values.”
“As we look to recover from this pandemic, we must recognize the moral imperative to prioritize a pathway to citizenship for essential workers.”
Rep. Raul Ruiz
Legislation such as the Dream Act, the SECURE Act (to legalize TPS holders) and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act provide frameworks that would legalize large numbers of essential workers and immigrants. Now, Congress must honor these heroes and honor their sacrifices and contributions with a path to legalization in the second major COVID relief legislative package under President Biden, which is being crafted now and is expected to be considered later this year.
“Our time is now. The Democrats have a tool at their disposal to legalize millions of people without depending on Republican votes,” stated Lorella Praeli, President of Community Change Action and Co-Chair of the We Are Home Campaign. “We need to get legalization for essential workers, for Dreamers, for TPS holders, and for farmworkers in the next reconciliation package. That does not mean we are abandoning our goal of citizenship for the 11 million. But it does mean that we see an immediate path for millions now, and we will make this reconciliation fight a definitional fight for the Democrats. Good-faith attempts will not be enough. The question for us will be are the Democrats using their power to actually deliver for our communities.”
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