tags: Press Releases

Incoming California Senator Alex Padilla and Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro Call on Legalization for Undocumented Essential Workers

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A recording of the call is available here.


Earlier today, immigrant advocates joined incoming California Senator Alex Padilla and Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro to discuss the unique impacts that Covid-19 has had on immigrant communities and to call for immigrants to be included in relief legislation and undocumented essential workers to be fast-tracked for citizenship.

Incoming California Senator Alex Padilla, said, “As we begin the succession of Congress, I can’t help but think about my parents and the others like them that represent families and children who are fleeing tough economic conditions or fleeing violence. All to be met at the border with policies that separate families and that have put adults in cages and children in cages and running into a stop sign and being banned from their pursuit of safety, of hope and opportunity, and of the very American dream that we all share. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. After four years of constant attack on immigrant communities, the Biden-Harris administration will help us turn the tides.”

“Essential workers, many of whom are undocumented immigrants, are unsung American heroes — risking their lives during this deadly pandemic to care for our communities and ensure food is on the table. I’m working on legislation to immediately protect essential workers and their families from deportation and  provide them with a fast-track path to citizenship,” said Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro. “My bill will help our nation fully recover from COVID while honoring the significant sacrifices and contributions of immigrant essential workers.”

Lorella Praeli, President, Community Change Action, said, “Five million essential workers are undocumented, and they are putting their lives on the line for our country every day, yet they are still vulnerable to deportation. It’s long past time to take care of the people who are taking care of us. It’s critical to provide a path to citizenship for essential workers, along with Dreamers, TPS holders, and other undocumented immigrants, and to include all immigrants in any covid relief and recovery packages.” 

“Millions of immigrant workers are on the frontlines, risking their lives to keep our country running without the luxury of being able to work remotely,” said Mary Kay Henry, International President of SEIU. “The depth of this crisis requires us to act with urgency. That’s why essential workers in Black and brown communities used the power of their vote to elect Joe Biden in record numbers. It’s time to pass fair and humane immigration reform that will put undocumented essential workers on a fast track to citizenship. It’s the only way we’ll be able to tackle the pandemic and make our nation whole.”

“Immigrants have always been the roaring motors boosting our economic might. In times of peril and need such as those we are living now under Covid-19, the nation must respond to their call for relief,” Angelica Salas, Executive Director, CHIRLA, said. “The incoming administration has a golden opportunity to set things right and offer immigrant essential workers and their families relief from this pandemic, relief from persecution because of their immigration status, and relief from invisibility.”