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Leading Democrats and Key Observers: Momentum Building to Deliver Citizenship for Millions

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Leading Democrats continue to build support for delivering citizenship for millions this year via a Democrats-only 51-vote vehicle, such as reconciliation, while outside editorial and local voices offer a reminder of why citizenship is so essential. What looked like a long shot just a few weeks ago, citizenship for millions of immigrants is increasingly looking like a key component of a broad Democratic legislative breakthrough this year: 

  • Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi: “I do believe that immigration should be in the reconciliation … To qualify for being included in a reconciliation bill the proposal has to have an impact on the budget. We have clear numbers to that effect to go forward.” 
  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer: “We remain firmly on track to achieve our two-track goal … After the bipartisan infrastructure legislation passes this chamber, I will immediately move to the other track, passing a budget resolution with reconciliation instructions.” 
  • Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ): Per Michelle Hackman of Wall Street Journal, “‘I look at Dreamers as American as my own two kids,’ said Sen. Mark Kelly (D., Ariz.). Asked if he felt citizenship needed to be tied to new border security measures, Mr. Kelly said he supported border security but added, ‘I don’t have a requirement that one thing has to go with another.'”
  • Chicago Sun Times editorial, “A chance for an historic win on immigration reform — if only Democrats will hang tough“: “The Democrats’ proposed budget package still is being firmed up. It will be a challenge — a real trick — to get even all Democrats in the Senate to sign on to the massive bill, and compromise is the name of the game. But when it comes to including immigration reform measures, we trust that leading Democratic advocates, including Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, will hang tough … We see an historic win for justice in the offing. If only the Democrats will go for it.” 
  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial, Congress must stop deferring on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals “A judge’s recent order declaring Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to be unconstitutional may turn out to be a blessing in disguise — the lever needed to get Congress, at last, to provide a permanent path to citizenship for this blameless population. As controversial as immigration issues in general can be, polls show wide majorities of Americans — even Republicans — favor granting legal status to the Dreamers, as the program’s recipients have come to be known … Hopefully, the Texas ruling will add pressure on Congress and force it to do what it should have done a decade ago.” 
  • The Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed, “Why Philly’s and Pittsburgh’s mayors want immigration action from Congress“: The op-ed, by Feyisola Akintola, special initiatives manager in the Office of Equity for Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Amy Eusebio, executive director of the Office of Immigrant Affairs for Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, notes in part: “We are proud of this work, and we will continue to do everything we can with the resources we have available to make sure that none of our residents get left behind. But the simple truth is that given how profoundly broken our immigration system is, our best efforts will never be enough until our leaders in Washington pass significant reforms this year to provide a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million people who are Americans in every way except on paper.” 
  • The Hill, op-ed by Gerald Michaud and Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY),Congress must act on giving a pathway to citizenship for Temporary Protected Status recipients”: “As a TPS recipient, Gerald does not have a pathway to citizenship or even permanent residency. In fact, a recent ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States  prevents many TPS recipients who entered unlawfully from applying for green cards, even if they are married to a U.S. citizen or if they otherwise qualify … We have a rare opportunity to finally solve a problem that has been exacerbated by years of inaction. Our immigrant brothers and sisters have earned their rightful place in America, and we owe it to the rest of us to unleash their full economic potential. It’s time we deliver for them. The lives of millions hang in the balance.” 
  • Des Moines Register, op-ed by Iowa police chief Michael Tupper, “A solution from Congress for Dreamers would help law enforcement in Iowa and beyond“: “If law enforcement loses trust with our immigrant communities, we are severing communication with witnesses to crimes, ingrained members of the community, and those with valuable information that could protect all Iowans … DACA recipients and other Dreamers are the logical place to start. With businesses everywhere struggling to find employees, meaningful immigration reform, starting with Dreamers, would benefit not only law enforcement but also our economy and businesses. Ending DACA, on the other hand, would have a significant impact on Iowa’s economy, costing Iowa nearly $188.5 million in annual GDP losses.”