Washington, DC – The following is a statement by Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, a pro-immigrant advocacy organization.
America’s Voice strongly supports the Build Back Better Act and we urge all Members of the House of Representatives to vote ‘yes’ on this bill.
We are pleased the bill includes provisions that offer work permits and protection against deportation for a period of 10 years to an estimated 7.1 million undocumented immigrants. Those eligible have been in America for at least ten years, and on average, those who qualify have lived and worked in America for twenty years.
It is estimated by the House Judiciary Committee that the provisions will cover 1.6 million immigrant youth, 360,000 TPS recipients; and 3.6 million essential workers, including 1 million farm workers. It is further estimated that 17 million people – 1 in 20 American residents – live in a household that includes at least one person who will benefit from legal status in the bill.
We have been fighting for – and will continue to fight for – a path to citizenship for all 11 million of America’s undocumented immigrants. This bill falls short of that goal, but we support its enactment because it is a dramatic improvement over the status quo. Currently, millions live in daily fear of being deported; workers are exploited by unscrupulous employers who take advantage of their lack of status; and families are denied the opportunity to travel abroad to visit loved ones. The BBB immigration reform provisions provide for work permits, deportation protections and travel authorization.
Undocumented immigrants have been risking their lives to keep Americans fed, safe and healthy during the most serious public health crisis in a century. Undocumented immigrants are Americans in all but paperwork and only Congress can formally and legally recognize this truth.
Let’s take this step forward now. Let’s not stop until we reach the mountain top.