Last night, House Democrats held a special order session in honor of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, where they took to the floor to speak about the economic and moral benefits of passing immigration reform with a path to citizenship.
The session echoed a similar event in July, also organized by freshman Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA). Other members speaking at yesterday’s event included Democratic Reps. Joe Garcia (FL), Raul Ruiz (CA), Lois Capps (CA), Bill Foster (IL), Beto O’Rourke (TX), Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), Marc Veasey (TX), and Steny Hoyer (MD).
An op-ed from Cardenas with Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) published yesterday in the Hill highlighted the main points of yesterday’s special order. As the op-ed starts:
As Congress continues discussing comprehensive immigration reform, we are again reminded that the inclusion of a pathway to citizenship is essential to ensuring that all immigrants are able to fully contribute to our economy, workforce and communities.
What happens when immigrants are able to become citizens rather than just seeing their immigration status legalized?
The answer is simple: We will have a stronger and more integrated America.
Allowing immigrants a path toward becoming citizens and fully integrating into everyday life in the United States will create a sense of belonging and attachment to our nation, just as it did for Irish, Italians and countless others who all had the chance to be full-fledged Americans. We cannot allow those who have immigrated to our nation to believe they are just a permanent subclass of worker, without an opportunity to work toward their American Dream. That idea of an underclass, a group that can reside in the U.S. legally but can never vote or become full equal members, runs completely contrary to the ideals upon which our nation was founded.
Members speaking yesterday also highlighted the economic benefit and number of jobs that immigration reform will bring to their states, the beneficial impact of reform on the deficit, the contributions of immigrants, their own personal family stories, and much more. View Twitter coverage (#CIRmeansjobs) of last night’s special session below: