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Immigrants Speak Up, Democrats Respond During Lobby Day: This is the Year to Achieve a Breakthrough on Citizenship

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“All options are on the table”


Yesterday, the We Are Home campaign held a virtual fly-in event that featured hundreds of impacted individuals, DACA recipients, TPS and DED holders, farm workers, essential workers and their allies. They made the case to lawmakers in more than 90 direct member and staff visits about why this is the year to deliver on citizenship for millions. At a midday virtual lunch and evening virtual rally, leading Democrats made clear that they are ready to use their majority to deliver citizenship and that all options are on the table to move legislation forward. Among the key voices:

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): “Immigrants make America more American, with their determination for a better future for their families. More importantly, we owe them not only gratitude, but ACTION.”
  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY): “We have a lot to do to make the United States a more inclusive, fair country once again … I promise you I will not rest until we bring these [communities] out of the shadows.”
  • Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) endorses reconciliation as a way forward on immigration if needed: “We have a bipartisan dialogue that’s going on … but I’m under no illusions. The Republicans of 2021 are not the same Republicans I worked with in 2013  … If they fail to negotiate in good faith … if they are more interested in punishing immigrants than offering them a path to citizenship, then all options are on the table for Democrats to deliver a path to citizenship.”
  • Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA), Chair of Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) endorsing reconciliation as a way forward on immigration if needed: “We will not wait and miss an opportunity to move forward with a pathway to citizenship for our workers … We will use every opportunity and tool to get the job done.”
  • Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA): “Undocumented essential workers did the work day in and day out to keep the rest of us safe and healthy and keep the economy running. Let’s give them the ability to live without fear of deportation and put them on a pathway to citizenship.” 
  • Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ): “The urgency of essential workers, 20 million of whom are immigrants, 5 million of those are undocumented, and we know that there are hundreds of thousands of our essential workers who are DACA recipients or who have TPS … that to me creates an urgency that we should all feel in a deeper way … we have to have more expansive moral imagination for who we truly are as a nation and what values we stand for.”
  • Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA): “Immigrant workers and their families are the backbone of our country and will play a key role in our nation’s recovery … [we need to put] millions of aspiring Americans on a path to citizenship.”

Meanwhile, leaders from organizations involved in the We Are Home campaign made a compelling case for why this is the year:

  • Angelica Salas, Executive Director of CHIRLA: “The time to act for Congress is now. This year and in this Congress, we need to make sure immigrant workers and families have access to citizenship in the jobs and infrastructure package. Immigrant workers have stepped up during the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to be critical to our full recovery as a nation. Our families cannot wait any longer.”
  • Patrice Lawrence, Co-Director of UndocuBlack Network: “We urge the Senate and we urge the Biden-Harris administration to do everything in their power to make sure immigrant communities regardless of the color of their skin, where we live, if we work and how we pray are able to attain legal status in this United States of America that we call home … We hope that something can be passed before the end of the summer.”
  • Teresa Romero, President of United Farmworkers of America (UFW): [To lobby day participants] “Many of you will be lobbying Members of the Senate and will be urging policymakers to use their power to ensure that these communities are included in the reconciliation process this year.”

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “The powerful voices of those directly impacted and their allies is clarion call for a legislative breakthrough this year. Citizenship for millions is a matter of moral urgency and political necessity. Thankfully, leading Democrats are signaling their readiness to use their majority to go big, go fast and change lives. This is the year.”