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Senator Alex Padilla and Immigration Policy Experts Discuss Inclusion of Citizenship Proposals in Budget Reconciliation Package

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A recording of the call can be found here.

Washington, DC – On a press call today, California Senator Alex Padilla joined immigration policy experts to discuss the importance of including citizenship proposals – for Dreamers, TPS holders, farm workers and other essential workers – in the soon-to-be-released Senate budget resolution with reconciliation instructions for the Build Back Better plan. 

Speakers argued the move is good policy and good politics. The legalization of millions will boost economic growth, create jobs and increase wages for all Americans, and Democrats will achieve a long overdue breakthrough, one that enjoys strong bipartisan support, including from independent and Republican voters. 

Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) said: “As the proud son of immigrants from Mexico, the subject of immigration is personal to me. I know from first hand experience the value immigrants bring to the United States. We need a pathway to citizenship that offers stability and security to immigrant families working hard in pursuit of their American dream. From Dreamers to farm workers to TPS holders, millions of immigrants call the U.S. home and served on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is time for Congress to act. Immigration belongs in the Democratic Budget Reconciliation Bill. Creating a new path to citizenship will grow our economy and improve workplaces for all. Research from the Center for American Progress shows that providing a pathway to citizenship will boost GDP by $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years, raise wages for all American workers, and generate billions of dollars of spending and tax revenue, fueling our economic recovery. Citizenship is essential infrastructure for many immigrant families. For many, it’s the gateway to a driver’s license, health care, higher education, and much more. Most importantly, citizenship is the foundation that enables immigrant families to pursue their American dreams. I call on my colleagues to listen to the bipartisan majority across the country that supports a pathway to citizenship for immigrants.”

Lorella Praeli, Co-President, Community Change Action, co-chair We Are Home, said: “In 2010, when I was still undocumented, I watched in the Senate gallery as the DREAM Act was called for a vote. The Democrats had majorities in the Senate, and the House, they had the Oval Office, and yet they failed to get the votes to overcome the filibuster. What an opportunity we have now to deliver for the people who helped Democrats win in 2020. Congress has not passed a major citizenship bill since 1986. That’s 35 years that have seen the passage of the harsh 1996 immigration laws and the creation of DHS, the enforcement budget balloon by billions, and 35 years during which immigrant communities and our allies time and time again have fought for citizenship, and come home empty handed. This is our year. We expect–and demand–the inclusion of citizenship for undocumented youth, TPS holders, farmworkers, and essential workers in the reconciliation package. And, we will make sure that every elected official knows they will be judged at the voting booth on whether they deliver citizenship for millions this year.”

Greisa Martinez Rosas, Executive Director, United We Dream Action, co-chair We Are Home, said: “We are in a moment of great urgency in our country. Over the past year we have seen undocumented people step up to help our country make it through the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. All this while being left out of much needed COVID-19 relief, with the threat of deportation still looming. We are seeing a record number of deportations and expulsions, along with a doubling of immigrants in detention. There is so much at stake for millions of undocumented people and our families and there is no time to waste. That is why Democrats must fight with everything to ensure the reconciliation package passes with a path to citizenship for immigrant youth, TPS holders, farm workers and other essential workers. They have the moral imperative to deliver this year, no excuses!” 

Jess Morales Rocketto, Executive Director, Care In Action, said: “I represent millions of undocumented essential and domestic workers who have been waiting for citizenship. This message couldn’t be more urgent for us, and that’s why I’m so disappointed the Republicans in Congress don’t share our urgency. I am sure in the 2022 midterms, Republicans will run on an anti-immigration platform, even though it’s a loser for them every time. They have been working hard to discredit what’s been happening at the border. That’s because the public — including the majority of Republican voters — support a path to citizenship. I’m heartened every single day knowing an overwhelming bipartisan majority of voters are on our side. This is the year we will pass citizenship for millions!”

Geoff Garin, Pollster, President, Hart Research, said: “A pathway to citizenship for immigrants is supported by Americans across party lines. In a recent poll Hart Research conducted with some partner firms, we asked voters about the Dream Act and creating a path to citizenship for Dreamers. Among the electorate as a whole, voters support this by 71 to 22. Among those with a strong opinion, they supported it with a margin of 3 to 1. This is not just Democrats talking; Independents support the Dream Act and a pathway to citizenship by 63 to 23, and a majority of rank-and-file Republican voters support this by 53 to 49. This is the definition of bipartisanship.”