Meanwhile, Republicans team up with January 6 insurrectionists, reminding us they – not immigrants – are the real threat to our future and our democracy
On Friday, President Biden spoke to twenty-one immigrants who were taking the oath of American citizenship at a naturalization ceremony held in the White House. President Biden said (watch a video clip here):
I want to thank you all for choosing us, and I mean that sincerely. Thank you for choosing the United States of America, believing that America is worthy of your aspirations, worthy of your dreams.
…All of you represent how immigration has always been essential to America. We’re constantly renewing ourselves. Constantly. When we come out of this pandemic and build an economy, we’re going to build it back better. If we’re going to do that, we need to fix our immigration system and fully tap the talent and dynamism in our nation.
I’ve kept my commitment and sent an immigration reform bill to the United States Congress. It includes smart border management and security and a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented people in America…we can work together on other things, as well: a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, young people who have only known America as their home; a pathway for immigrants who are here on Temporary Protective Status, TPS, who came from countries beset by man-made and natural-made violence and disaster; and a pathway for farm workers who are here putting food on our tables but are not citizens.
Folks, in the competition for the 21st century, we need an immigration system that reflects our values and upholds our laws. We can do both.
Beyond just the powerful words, the Biden administration and Democratic allies are gearing up to extend and expand the possibility of citizenship for those previously excluded:
- CNN: “Biden unveils unprecedented government-wide strategy to encourage US citizenship,” highlighting plans for “an unprecedented effort to encourage eligible immigrants to apply for US citizenship” via a cross-departmental push.
- The Los Angeles Times: “Biden administration working to allow deported veterans back into U.S.” In addition to “a policy review to assist deported veterans and military family in returning to the U.S….They also plan to remove barriers for military members to naturalize and to create an immigration resource center for service members and their families.”
- Legislative push for citizenship: In Congress, Democrats are gearing up for a legislative breakthrough, using their majority to deliver citizenship for millions by using a 51-vote vehicle.
While Biden and Democrats welcome immigrants and refugees, Republicans and their allies are demonizing and dehumanizing immigrants and refugees. Intent on running in 2022 on white grievance and xenophobia, most in the GOP say they want a return to the cruel and chaotic Trump policies that separated families, attacked DACA and TPS, and lawlessly returned migrants to danger. Finally, there’s this:
- CNN: “Capitol rioter accompanied members of Congress on trip to US-Mexico border.” The story recaps that January 6th insurrectionist Anthony Aguero went to the border and posed with multiple Republican Members of Congress for photos and videos last week.
Republicans don’t want to investigate the January 6th insurrection, the greatest threat to our democracy since the Civil War – but want to attack immigrants and refugees seeking a better life in America.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
America is at its best when we extend and expand citizenship to those previously excluded. When we shift from “us vs them” to “us and them” we include the once marginalized and make the expanded ‘us’ more dynamic, more successful and more equal.
As President Biden leans into this renewed push for citizenship to those currently excluded, Republicans are leaning into their insular and fearful view of our country. Today is the six month anniversary of the deadly January 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol. Those who attacked or defended the attack on our democracy now want you to believe that the real threat to America comes not from violent insurrectionists, but from immigrants and refugees seeking a better life.
We know better. Those of us committed to extending and defending democracy, who believe in the vision of America as a welcoming nation with a safe, fair, orderly and humane immigration system, know that America shines when it opens its arms.
Let us commit to this being the year to further extend and expand citizenship. This is the moment to formally recognize deeply-rooted undocumented immigrants as the Americans they already are. The nation wants it. It’s time for those in the majority to deliver it.