tags: , , , Press Releases

On Citizenship, Democrats are United and Gearing Up While Republicans are Stoking Fear in Hopes of Thwarting Solutions

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Washington, DC – Momentum keeps building for pathways to citizenship to be enacted in Congress this year. That is because Democrats are leaning in, blowing past bad-faith Republicans, and preparing to achieve a long overdue breakthrough on their own. 

Democrats commit to enact citizenship via reconciliation

  • The President meets today with leading Democrats on immigration: Later this afternoon, President Biden will host 11 Senate and House Democrats to discuss the way forward on enacting pathways to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants this year. The meeting – on the heels of recent meetings by the President and Vice President with immigrants directly impacted – is the latest sign that the chances are real and the commitment is strong. 
  • Democratic unity on Capitol Hill: In addition to the 11 attendees to the White House meeting today, Democrats across Capitol Hill are reiterating their commitment to deliver citizenship for millions this year. They recognize that Republicans are not interested in fixing our immigration system, they are interested in exploiting it for political gain. Democrats from across the ideological spectrum – from Senator Manchin to AOC – support the use of reconciliation to get it done. So do two key committee chairmen – Senate Budget Committee Chair Bernie Sanders and House Budget Committee Chair John Yarmuth. The Congressional Progressive Caucus has made it must-have top priority.

Republicans, led by Senator John Cornyn (of “Cornyn Con” infamy), have operated in bad faith 

  • Sen. John Cornyn is dusting off the “Cornyn Con – posturing and pretending he’s working toward a bipartisan breakthrough in order to delay and derail immigration reform legislation and blame Democrats for the breakdown. He’s done this in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2017 and 2018. He’s doing it again. Thankfully, Senator Dick Durbin and Democrats aren’t falling for it. Even after the anti-DACA ruling from Judge Hanen, Republicans are using the age-old excuse of the border to oppose a very popular and long overdue solution.
  • GOP sees immigration as a chance to stoke division and demonize “the other.” The Republican machine demonizes immigrants as criminals, terrorists and the source of COVID. They lie about “open borders” and the so-called effectiveness of Trump’s lawless and cruel policies. Republicans’ real aim: to deploy racism and xenophobia strategically to mobilize white grievance voters for the midterms. They seem to forget that Trump nationalized the midterms in 2018 around “caravans and criminals” and suffered the largest midterm defeat in American history. And he ran on nativism in 2020 and lost to the pro-immigrant candidate by 7 million votes, while the Senate flipped to Democrats.

A consensus issue: Americans overwhelmingly support citizenship and CEOs, governors, and mayors are calling for it

  • 70-24% support for citizenship in a new poll, including majority of GOP. Yesterday, we highlighted new polling from Data for Progress that found that the citizenship proposals to be included on Democrats’ human infrastructure package are overwhelmingly popular with Democrats, Independents and Republicans. Overall, Americans back citizenship for Dreamers, TPS holders, and farm workers and other essential workers by a 70-24% margin, including by a 53-40% margin among Republicans. The Cato Institute also notes in a new report headlined, “Public Opinion Shifts in a Pro‐​Immigration Direction.” Polling is remarkably consistent on the subject (including these other recent polls). 
  • Public rejects “border first” excuse for inaction: Meanwhile, polling shows the American people reject the GOP’s core “border security first” excuse for inaction on citizenship and instead want Congress to formally recognize settled undocumented immigrants as the Americans they already are and support humane solutions to the challenges at the border. See here for more.
  • More than 90 CEOs call for citizenship: Today, Bloomberg reports on a new push from more than 90 CEOs of major companies, including those at Apple, Amazon and Facebook, who are joining together to urge Congress to pass citizenship for Dreamers.
  • Mayors and governors endorse citizenship via reconciliation: Meanwhile, 84 mayors across the country, from big cities and small, are calling for immigration to be included in the reconciliation package, joining recent calls from Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado and Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington – both former Members of Congress.