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100 Members of Congress to House Leadership: Include Essential Immigrant Workers, Dreamers, and TPS Holders in COVID-19 Reconciliation Package

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A new letter released today from 100 Members of Congress calls on House Democratic leadership to include a “pathway to citizenship for essential immigrant workers and their families, Dreamers, and TPS holders in the COVID-19 reconciliation recovery package.” 

See quotes below from (CHC) Chairman Raul Ruiz (D-CA), Rep. Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA), Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Jessica Morales Rocketto, Civic Engagement Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Greisa Martinez Rosas, Executive Director of United We Dream, both co-chairs of the We Are Home campaign.

Addressed to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Budget Committee Chair Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY), the signatories of the letter wrote leadership to:

…respectfully request that you include a pathway to citizenship for essential immigrant workers and their families, Dreamers, and TPS holders in the COVID-19 reconciliation recovery package given that essential immigrant workers have been, and will continue to be, key to the health and safety of all Americans during the pandemic and will be critical for the economic recovery of the country … it is vital that we include protections for immigrant workers to secure the health of our nation and lay the foundation for a robust and dynamic economic recovery.

The letter, organized by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), notes:

An estimated five million undocumented immigrants, including 202,500 DACA receipients and 131,300 TPS holders, are serving our country every day as essential workers … Undocumented essential workers have stepped up to serve our country in a time of crisis and should be able to apply for U.S. citizenship. The inclusion of protections and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented essential workers and their families would boost economic output and increase average wages for all workers, while playing an important role in addressing the disproportionate impact that the pandemic has had on communities of color … inclusion of these protections is not just a necessity for economic recovery, it is an issue of economic and racial justice for communities that have been the most vulnerable to the crisis and left out in previous relief packages.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that essential workers, including immigrants, are the backbone of our country and will be the catalyst for our economic recovery,” said Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Chairman Raul Ruiz (D-CA). “They have risked their lives to feed America by working in fields and meatpacking facilities, among other critical frontline jobs, to keep us safe and healthy. As Congress works on the next COVID-19 economic recovery package, it is critical to include these essential workers to ensure our country gets back on track as quickly as possible.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that immigrants are essential, something I have known since I was a young girl,” said Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA). “My mother cleaned houses until she became a school teacher and my father was a machinist, but generations of essential workers were often overlooked because of the color of their skin or because of their immigration status. Our country is ready for change. From service workers to truck drivers, to educators and first responders – they’ve stepped up for us and will continue to do so. It is only right that a COVID-19 recovery package includes a pathway to citizenship for them and their families.”

“Immigrant essential workers have risked their lives so all Americans could overcome this pandemic—and they should be included in our nation’s economic recovery,” said Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX). “I am working on citizenship legislation and optimistic this Congressional Hispanic Caucus priority will be part of COVID-19 relief.”

Jessica Morales Rocketto, Civic Engagement Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Co-chair of the We Are Home campaign, stated: “Our movement is committed to winning freedom for as many of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in America as possible – this year. There’s an opportunity to legalize millions as part of the economic recovery package expected this spring. We will fight for our communities with the same tireless commitment that essential workers bring to their daily labor. From Dreamers to TPS holders to farm workers to health workers to care workers to delivery workers to teachers to first responders, essential workers have been and will be indispensable in our efforts to recover from this pandemic. We salute the 100 members of Congress who signed on to this letter, we thank the Congressional Hispanic Caucus for its leadership, and, working together, we are determined to have ‘We the People’ include all of us.”

“During Trump administration undocumented immigrants – those essential workers keeping all of us safe, healthy and fed, were kept out of COVID-19 relief. Today, our communities find ourselves deeply impacted by the continued horrors of the pandemic and at continued risk of detention and deportation by ICE and CBP. We will not allow our lives to be treated as disposable. We can’t wait. Democrats must move beyond promises and deliver real change to our community. They must seize this opportunity to uphold the rights of all workers by including legalization of essential immigrant workers, undocumented young people and TPS recipients, in the next COVID-19 package. Our movement is relentless and we will seize every opportunity to deliver permanent protections for all 11 million undocumented immigrants because the time is now,” said Greisa Martinez Rosas, Executive Director of United We Dream and Co-chair of the We Are Home campaign.

Last week, 500 organizations signed onto a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) requesting that Congress use all necessary legislative tools to create a to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, particularly Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, and the estimated 5 million undocumented workers who have been on the front lines during this pandemic.