Vanessa Cárdenas: “The urgency is clear and the opportunity is at hand: now is the time to build on this first step and for lawmakers to deliver a legislative fix this year.”
Washington, DC – According to Greg Sargent of the Washington Post, Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) have “reached an agreement on a draft framework of immigration reform compromises” and are circulating a white paper laying out their proposed blueprint.
The following is a statement from Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice, reacting to the news and implications:
“The news of a Senate bipartisan legislative framework on immigration is a welcome first step that moves us closer to a long-awaited breakthrough this year. A permanent path to legal status and eventual citizenship for Dreamers would deliver a popular and economically beneficial solution for the nation and we are encouraged that Senators are talking about proposals that point in this direction. In addition to DACA recipients and the broader population of Dreamers, we feel it is important the Senate also move legal status forward for farmworkers, TPS holders and other essential U.S. immigrant workers with deep roots in this country. Stabilizing both the short-term and long-term futures of these populations and the country as a whole is critical, especially with DACA about to be dealt a death sentence because of Republican lawsuits, and with House GOP hardliners in sync with the extremists in the Republican Party about to assume control of the House of Representatives.
While we are encouraged by the real prospect of legislation this year, we also recognize that there are many key details to be determined. In particular, we are clear eyed about the reality that a significant number of Republican Senate votes will be needed to move legislation forward and our accompanying recognition that a bipartisan compromise will likely include provisions we would oppose on their own. As negotiations continue, we urge lawmakers to oppose proposals that will actually make border control and management worse, like extending Trump-era asylum policies designed to keep valid asylum claims from ever reaching the inside of a U.S. court of law. Policy changes designed to manage the border in a humane and orderly fashion and process asylum claims in an efficient manner should not trample on existing asylum law or America’s best traditions as a welcoming nation or summarily return those seeking safety back to life-threatening danger.
While there remain important and unanswered questions at this stage of the negotiations, there also are several key points that we know with certainty:
- Without a permanent solution, our country and our economy will likely face the prospect of hundreds of thousands of individuals who have been registering with the DACA program for more than a decade losing their jobs due to impending legal rulings on DACA caused by Republican lawsuits to kill the program.
- The pressure is on to act quickly, before the House GOP majority makes the task much more difficult in 2023. Having run hard on border security demagoguery and embracing white nationalist conspiracy theories to scare voters about immigrants and immigration, House Republicans are not likely to allow any measures to improve immigration matters to reach a vote, prefering to have the political issue for the next elections rather than solutions. This year and the remaining weeks in this Congress present the best opportunity to enact legislation.
- Enacting a bill with permanent legal status for Dreamers and other undocumented populations would deliver on a point of American consensus – year after year and poll after poll, approximately 70 percent of the public supports permanent status for Dreamers and other long-standing undocumented populations
- Voices from across the nation and across the political spectrum – including Dreamers, Republicans, higher ed leaders, business voices, faith leaders, and others – have been speaking out in recent weeks and calling for Congress to enact a legislative fix this year.
The urgency is clear and the opportunity is at hand: now is the time to build on this first step and for lawmakers to deliver a legislative fix this year.”