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Promoting U.S. Citizenship and the Inclusion of Immigrants and Refugees: New Deal for New Americans Act Introduced

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Today, the New Deal for New Americans Act was introduced by Representatives Grace Meng (NY-06), Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), and Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) at a Washington, DC press conference. The legislation calls for a new commitment from the United States to incorporating immigrants and refugees into the fabric of the nation by facilitating citizenship for those who qualify; creating a federal Office of Citizenship and New Americans; restoring America’s commitment to accepting and resettling refugees; promotes English language and job skills acquisition; expands access to legal services that facilitate citizenship; and renews our commitment to being a welcoming nation. The following is a statement from Pili Tobar, Deputy Director of America’s Voice:

We need to recommit ourselves to American citizenship. For nearly three years under the control of Republicans and Donald Trump, the mantra of our immigration system has been ‘keep them out and keep them down.’ On an almost daily basis, the U.S. is erecting barriers to work, travel, legal immigration, refugee admissions, asylum, citizenship and the very presence of the foreign-born in our nation. The President and his Republican allies hold those born in other countries who have chosen America as their home and are American citizens as eternally suspect. They regularly question the Americanness and loyalty of our highest government officials, military leaders, jurists and just average naturalized U.S. citizens. The New Deal for New Americans legislation recognizes that citizenship and inclusiveness are the foundations of American greatness, not threats to it.

Thanks to the leadership of Reps. Meng, Jayapal and García, the New Deal for New Americans points the way towards inclusive policies to promote citizenship, welcome refugees and speed the integration of immigrants into our society. The Office of Citizenship and New Americans will coordinate federal, state and local policy to promote citizenship and ensure that immigrant integration is a priority across the federal government. 

America’s Voice fully endorses the New Deal for New Americans Act and the organizing, policy development and leg work done by a coalition of immigration, refugee and citizenship experts led by the National Partnership for New Americans, the sponsors of the nation’s largest annual conference on immigrant integration and citizenship. 

We need to reset our national approach to immigrants and immigration and turn the corner on nativism. For as long as we have been a country, American democracy has been revitalized by incorporating immigrants and refugees into the fabric of our society. This legislation provides a blueprint for a way forward.

A summary of the New Deal for New Americans Act, prepared by the National Partnership for New Americans is available here.