The public is ready; now it’s up to Congress to act
The following is a statement from Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice regarding the introduction of the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, led by Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Representative Linda Sanchez (D-CA) on behalf of President Biden.
“Welcoming immigrants is part of America’s secret sauce. Immigrants vote with their feet to start a new life in America for their families, and the enormous contributions they make strengthen our nation.
President Biden gets it. His administration and Democrats in Congress, led by Sen. Bob Menendez and Rep. Linda Sanchez, are making immigration a priority. They get that the acceptance of immigrants and refugees is foundational to the American experiment. They get that the cruelty and chaos of the Trump era is antithetical to the nation we aspire to be. They get that the American people want their representatives to address longstanding challenges that enjoy broad public support.
These Democratic leaders also get that the conventional wisdom regarding the politics of immigration is outdated. Xenophobic attack ads have become a staple of GOP campaigns, but immigration as a wedge issue has lost its edge. In 2018, Trump nationalized the 2018 midterms around ‘caravans and criminals.’ In 2020, Trump attacked Biden for supporting a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. In both elections, Democrats leaned in and stood tall for immigrants. Today, Biden is the President and Democrats control both the Senate and the House.
In fact, Trump’s relentless nativism forced many ambivalent Americans to make a choice: are we going to be a nation that welcomes immigrants as a source of collective strength, or are we going to be a nation that dehumanizes, deters, detains and deports those who seek freedom in our country? The research is conclusive: the American people have never been more pro-immigrant and more pro-immigration (see a deep dive here). Trump’s racism and xenophobia backfired.
On average, three-quarters of the public supports a path to legal status and citizenship for undocumented immigrants. The public debate is settled. America wants to formally recognize undocumented immigrants as the Americans they already are.
Now it’s up to Congress to reflect the will of the majority.”