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Office Hours: Reviewing The Week’s Developments In Immigration

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You can listen to a recording of the call here

Earlier today, advocates gathered on a call to give their takes on the major developments regarding immigration policy. In particular, speakers addressed their hopes for and support of the Dream & Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, legislation that creates a path to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS and DED holders, and farmworkers. These measures, that were approved by the House of Representatives last Congress, will provide momentum towards enacting legislation to legalize millions of immigrants this year. Votes on these measures, and perhaps others, are expected in the House the week of March 15. 

Teresa Romero, President, United Farm Workers (UFW), said, “Farm workers have always been essential, even before the covid-19 pandemic. These workers are a skilled and crucial labor force whose lives are at risk working in dangerous conditions with toxic pesticides and the threat of covid-19. Many agricultural workers lack legal status, yet through their hard work they’ve proven their worth and right for legal status. The Farm Workforce Modernization Act is a bipartisan bill that came about after complex negotiations between politicians and experts on both sides of the aisle. The bill is a significant step in the right direction of victory for immigration reform. We are thankful for members for working across party lines to ensure that more than 1 million farm workers can live with liberty and without fear and uncertainty. Going forward, both sides must work together to pass this legislation through the House and Senate.”

Oscar Chacón, Executive Director, Alianza Americas, said, “Recipients of temporary protected status, who have resided in the US over many years, are already permanent residents of our communities, except for the fact they do not have permanent residency visas. They are taxpayers, they are workers, they are nannies, they are essential workers, they are mothers and fathers of US born children, they are our neighbors. We call on members of Congress, particularly Republican Senators and Representatives, to do what is right for our nation and what is right for these individuals by changing the law so that they can apply for permanent residency visas. Over time, these individuals should have the opportunity to apply for US citizenship and become more fully integrated into our nation.”

Haddy Gassama, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator, UndocuBlack Network, said, “We very much welcome the reintroduction of the American Dream and Promise Act, which brings overdue relief and protection and a path to citizenship for DACA, TPS, and DED recipients. The momentum and trajectory of this bill is a testament of the power of our movement and the advocacy of the members of this community. Yet, this bill is certainly not perfect. As Black immigrants, we are aware of being overlooked through technicalities and criminal bars. UndocuBlack will continue to fight against these Anti-Black policy making tactics  to the end. Nevertheless, we cannot emphasize enough the dire need for this bill to pass, to ensure citizenship and relief to the millions of immigrants whose lives remain in limbo without permanent protection. The mass deportation of  Black immigrants has also  been going on non-stop all throughout Black History month. Children as young as one month old, pregnant and transgender women are being deported to harmful conditions without being being given the opportunity to even apply for asylum. We ask for the immediate stop of deportation and we will continue to lift up that these are happening until they stop.”

Bruna Sollod, Communications Director, United We Dream (UWD), said, “The passage of both the Dream and Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act is a critical first step for citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the US. Our communities need relief right now, and there is urgency as we wait for a court decision from Judge Hanen in the DACA Texas litigation that could see DACA recipients being stripped of their protections. Democrats in the House and Senate have a moral obligation to deliver for our communities and we will not allow them to put the blame on Republicans for it not getting done. The White House and Congress must pursue every avenue possible to push for this legislation and ensure there is a path of permanent citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants.”