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Why a Legislative Breakthrough on Immigration Really Matters

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Today the House Judiciary Committee moves forward a proposal to grant legal permanent resident status – a stepping stone to citizenship – to Dreamers, TPS holders, farm workers and other essential workers. This is yet another step towards enactment of a long overdue breakthrough on immigration reform.

Two of the longtime leaders of the Dreamer movement, Astrid Silva and Gaby Pacheco, offer timely reminders of what is really at stake for millions of Dreamers and other immigrants:

During an appearance on MSNBC’s “American Voices with Alicia Menendez” this weekend, Astrid Silva of Dream Big Nevada reminded us what is on the line:

I have been undocumented for almost 30 years at this point … My entire life depends on these next few decisions… Now, more than ever, there is an actual plausible possibility [of a path to citizenship].

In a Newsweek op-ed, “After 2 Decades, Now is the Time for Citizenship for Dreamers,” Gaby Pacheco of TheDream.US writes:

[N]ow is the time to finally deliver citizenship for Dreamers. It’s been long overdue for two decades. Through all the trials, tribulations and breakthroughs, Dreamers have been told that our time was coming. That Congress would soon deliver a permanent fix. Instead of waiting passively for that day, we stood up; we spoke out; we organized. And through each opportunity afforded to us, we have proven that when Dreamers and other immigrants have chances to succeed, we gratefully seize those opportunities …

… We call ourselves “Dreamers” for a reason. None of us have ever stopped dreaming. But we need Congress to deliver—on behalf of DACA recipients, younger and older Dreamers lacking DACA protections and millions of other long-settled immigrants. America will be stronger when everyone has opportunities to succeed and fully participate in our shared country. Now, finally, should be the time.

Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, added:

Immigration reform is long overdue. America will benefit by extending citizenship to millions of immigrants. Our economy will get a boost. Our tax base will grow. And our nation will live up to our ideal as a welcoming nation that does well by doing right. 

We are confident that this is the year Congress will pass legislation providing pathways to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS holders, and farm workers and other essential workers. Across the Democratic Party, there is unity in support of immigration through reconciliation. The American people overwhelmingly support citizenship, including majorities of Democrats, Independents and Republicans (see a poll roundup here). 

Yet the most compelling reason to finally deliver a legislative breakthrough is not an argument about polling or fiscal impacts or economic growth. It’s about the lives, stories and futures of millions of immigrants for whom America is now home. Delivering pathways to permanent status and citizenship will finally and formally recognize millions of deeply-rooted friends, family and neighbors as the Americans they already are.