Washington, D.C. – On a press call today, immigration policy experts, impacted individuals and advocates discussed the Senate’s “Vote-A-Rama” on the budget resolution and what it means to have a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants included in the reconciliation package. Despite efforts to derail, curtail or blow up the process by Republicans, the bill advances to the next legislative steps with momentum, power and the backing of the American people. Speakers discussed the policy and politics and why citizenship for immigrant youth, TPS holders, farmworkers and other essential workers is a crucial component of the Build Back Better package.
The recording of the call can be found here.
Angelica Salas, Executive Director, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), said,
“We rejoice as we are one step closer to ensuring immigrants and their families have the recognition and path to citizenship that they have long deserved. It was a long night but we are here because we support a broad path to citizenship being included in the reconciliation package by any means available and we will not allow any anti-immigrant legislators to slow us down. We are part of the United States, we live in these communities and we contribute to them not because we want to belong, but because we already do. A path to citizenship in this reconciliation bill is a recognition that we belong and have belonged for a long time. Last night we overcame a significant hurdle, and we have been waiting for 35 years for this moment. When the administration says Build Back Better, we can’t do that without immigrants. The House must pass a reconciliation bill with funding for legalization intact. This is not just for the future of immigrants, it’s for the future of the entire nation. Legalization makes sense morally and economically, and a path to citizenship is good for all of us who make the U.S. home.”
Greisa Martinez Rosas, Executive Director, United We Dream and We Are Home Co-Chair, said,
“All year, we have been pushing the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress to go big and bold on a pathway to citizenship. The budget resolution that passed last night is an important step forward in providing a pathway to citizenship for millions. This step forward is a big deal, it is a culmination of the work so many Black and brown immigrants have done to fight for this moment. We are on the precipice of providing citizenship to so many undocumented Black and brown immigrants. The opposition from Republicans to the budget resolution last night highlights the racism and white supremacy that exists within their party. As we face a new reconstruction of our nation, immigrants are central to our country. Republicans in Congress are not in step with the country at large. Any Congressperson who is not with us is against the 70% of the American public that support a pathway to citizenship. We cannot keep falling for the bad faith and racist rhetoric from Republicans. We must remind Democrats that they have the full political power and moral obligation to provide a full pathway to citizenship. This year, we must deliver citizenship to millions of undocumented Americans. No excuses!”
Hina Naveed, RN JD, Co-Director, DRM Action Coalition & Advocate for the NY Immigration Coalition, Co-Author of NYT Op-Ed, “This Can Be the Year We Fulfill Our Promise to Dreamers”, said,
“For more than a year, immigrants like me have kept our country running during this pandemic despite living under the constant threat of deportation and family separation. But today, I dare to hope that relief and stability may be on the way for my family but also millions of others who have been essential to the fabric of this nation long before they were designated as such. The inclusion of a pathway to citizenship in the budget reconciliation package that just passed the Senate is a testament to the courage of Dreamers, TPS holders, and essential workers who mobilized their communities and demanded this long-awaited action. Now it’s time to make citizenship a reality. We can’t wait any longer!”
Patrice Lawrence, Co-Director, UndocuBlack Network, and We Are Home Steering Committee Member, said,
“It is with great pleasure and celebration that we are here this morning, after staying up almost all night with advocates who continued to make phone calls, send emails, and make it clear that any bill to Build Back Better must include undocumented people. It should not have taken a global pandemic to prove the value of immigrants. Our worth is our humanity, not our work, but the pandemic illustrated that it is immigrant communities that keep our country afloat. It has been many years since a large immigration package has been passed. Many immigrants have fallen through the cracks due to red tape and legal loopholes. We must work towards justice and dignity for all immigrants, and we will be there every step of the way to make sure a pathway to citizenship is achieved. If you are a man or a woman of dignity, you must keep your promises, and we will be there to ensure members of Congress keep theirs.”
Rebecca Shi, Executive Director, American Business Immigration Coalition, said,
“72% of American voters support immigration, and reconciliation may be the last chance we have to provide certainty for immigrant workers and employers. ABIC has met with 41 Republican Senators and there are a bunch of Republicans who understand and support bipartisan solutions. Unfortunately, they have not come forward and essentially handed the issue off to Democrats. This is economically harmful, politically foolish, and lacks moral courage. Adding immigration in reconciliation is the only vehicle in sight, and legalization would add $31 billion in federal and state tax dollars and bring about $121 billion dollars in U.S. economic growth.”