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Momentum Builds to Legalize Dreamers, Farm Workers, and Essential Immigrant Workers – Arizona Republic Editorial and Rep. Darren Soto Op-Ed

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New editorial and opinion voices are making the case for why now is the time to finally deliver citizenship for essential undocumented workers, including Dreamers and farm workers, and offering reminders why Republicans should support these efforts. An Arizona Republic editorial explicitly addresses why conservatives should support the Dream and Promise Act and The Farm Worker Modernization Act, both awaiting Senate action, while Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL) writes in the Orlando Sentinel why Florida Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rick Scott (R-FL) should join the effort to pass these bills and address the status of essential immigrant workers.

These new voices join those of President Biden, First Lady Biden, Speaker Pelosi, and Senator Manchin, each of whom last week called for citizenship for Dreamers, farm workers, and the larger undocumented population. See below for key excerpts from the new pieces:

Arizona Republic editorial, “Here’s a conservative case to pass bills legalizing farmworkers and ‘Dreamers’: The editorial notes

“Conservatives still asking why it’s a good idea to legalize agricultural workers and ‘Dreamers’ just need to ask farm growers and economists. The answer is simple. The young immigrants called ‘Dreamers’ pour billions into the U.S. economy, and the American agricultural industry that feeds our nation desperately need an orderly and legal flow of workers … This isn’t a Democratic or Republican problem. It’s an American issue senators from both parties should heartily support.

Democratic Arizona Sens. Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema, who have championed humane reform, will need to aggressively work to persuade their Republican colleagues to take up the immigration bills. Sinema is uniquely skilled at reaching across the aisle. This is when it counts.

Farmworkers and migrants in general bear the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic working on the front lines. They toil in the fields, prepare and deliver meals, stock grocery stores and work long hours in meat-processing plants. Conservatives know perfectly well that this country needs an immigration reform that works for employers and the immigrants who want nothing more than a chance to work here legally.”

Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL) commentary in the Orlando Sentinel, “Floridians need immigration reform now: Rep. Soto writes an opinion column for the Orlando Sentinel that states:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged and reminded us of what truly matters: our families, friends and communities. It has also shown us the importance of our essential workers, those serving on the front lines of our pandemic response and putting themselves at risk to help our country. While many of these heroes have received their well-earned recognition, immigrant essential workers have largely remained unrecognized and at risk of separation from their families. Despite their significant contributions to keep America healthy, fed and moving, the failures of our broken immigration system have left them without any protections.

…What’s incredibly clear is while immigrants are working, our immigration laws are not. They are broken and desperately in need of repair … Immigrant essential workers have stepped up for America. Now it’s time we step up for them.

…The Dream and Promise Act, legislation that I co-sponsored, would open an earned pathway to citizenship for our nation’s Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status holders and Deferred Enforced Departure recipients, ensuring these Americans have the protections, safety, and peace of mind that they deserve.

Similarly, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act would provide a long-overdue pathway to citizenship for immigrant farmworkers and their immediate family members. It would also modernize the agriculture guest worker visa program to ensure the agriculture industry remains stable in this time of economic uncertainty.

Now the Senate must follow suit and send legislation that provides these crucial immigrants with a pathway to citizenship to President Joe Biden’s desk. We have a real opportunity to begin fixing our broken immigration system. With widespread bipartisan support, there is no reason why members of both parties cannot support these common-sense bills. I remain hopeful that a bipartisan compromise, featuring our state’s senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, is possible. We will not waste this opportunity to provide certainty to the millions of immigrants who have earned our respect and support.”

According to Douglas Rivlin, Communications Director of America’s Voice:

“While Democrats are intent on using their majority to deliver citizenship for farm workers, Dreamers, and essential workers, the Arizona Republic and Rep. Soto columns remind us why Republicans should support these efforts as well. It is in our national interest and consistent with our history to embrace and absorb immigrants. America has been built on the backs of immigrants, the working class and people of color. Undocumented immigrants are our friends, neighbors and family members who are already part of the fabric of American life, whose industry and sacrifices have kept us safe and fed over the past year. It’s time to finally deliver on these long overdue reforms that are both the right thing and the smart thing to do.”