A recording of the call is available here.
Earlier today, immigration experts and advocates convened for a deep dive into Biden’s U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, introduced to Congress by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Rep. Linda Sanchez (CA-38), that discussed the implications of the bill and signaled a call to action for commitment and follow through of the President and Congressional leaders to get it passed.
Nathaly Arriola, Campaign Director, We Are Home, said, “Today, I join my colleagues in applauding the introduction of the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021. On behalf of the campaign, I thank President Biden, Sen. Menendez, Rep. Sanchez and all the Senate and House cosponsors. Most importantly, I want to show gratitude for the decades of work that lead us to this historic step in our efforts to rebuild our country’s immigration system and finally grant relief to our 11 million undocumented family members and neighbors who have long called this country home. We will not, and cannot go back to our communities empty handed. We look forward to working closely in partnership with the Biden administration and Congress to deploy every resource at hand.”
“These are our mothers, our fathers, our neighbors, said Greisa Martinez Rosas, Executive Director, United We Dream. “This fight is about fighting for the rights of ALL people to be seen as fully human. Never has this been more clear than now as immigrants have risked their lives to keep our country safe, fed, and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is why President Biden and the Democratic majority in Congress must use every tool at their disposal to deliver on immigration. We will not tolerate next year or next time. We have the power now, we will use it and show the country what it’s like to embrace immigration. “
Glo Harn Choi, Chicago-based Organizer, NAKASEC, said, “This bill is a sign of the work that community members and organizers have been doing for years. It’s a commitment that we will continue to do everything in our power to continue pushing to ensure that all of us have the ability to thrive and not just survive. This is a sign saying you can come back home, you can be back in your communities. We need to make sure that all the folks have been deported can come back. There have been 30,000 deportations under this administration and it’s time for it to end. We need to stop the unjust backlog of bureaucracy of the USCIS that stops people from being able to process their paperwork, because this requires all of us.”
“Today’s introduction of President Biden’s U.S Citizenship Act of 2021 creates hope and opportunity for undocumented children and their immigrant families,” said Angelica Salas, Executive Director, CHIRLA. “For the past 35 years, immigrants have contributed as taxpayers, provided their labor, formed families and during this pandemic kept working so that many of us could be safe and protected. Despite their contributions and vulnerable conditions, they are barred from basic protection, exploited in the workplace, detained in horrible conditions, and separated from their families. They remain undocumented until their last days on this Earth and this cruelty has to change. This time, we ask Congress to embody the immigrant spirit of hope, courage, and fortitude that fights against all odds. When that happens, and Congress passes the Citizenship Act of 2021, immigrants will finally be recognized as the Americans they have always been.”
High school junior, Sonia Martinez, Chester County, PA, CASA, said, “My mom came to the United States from Mexico – two months pregnant and with my siblings in hand. When we first arrived in 2009, we would barely see her because she had to work so much: she is a single mom who packaged mushrooms from 5 am to 8 pm, all to provide for us. My family and I are so optimistic that this is finally the year of major strides for the immigrant community: one that blesses us with a robust path to citizenship and family reunification – all to finally recognize on paper everything that we as immigrants offer to make this country shine bright.”
Clara Cortes, Make the Road New York, said, “This bill brings me hope for a better future. For over twenty years, I have waited for Congress to pass legislation like this. Immigrants like me have built our lives and our families here. This country is our home. Over the last year, while facing the constant risk of being torn from our loved ones, immigrants like me have also been trying to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. My husband has been hospitalized for almost a year after contracting the virus, and every time I see him, he worries about me since because of my lack of immigration status, I could be separated from my family. Today, I am happy to see that fixing our immigration system is a priority for the current administration, and it is crucial that Congress quickly acts to make a pathway to citizenship a reality.”
Make the Road New York, CASA and CHIRLA are co-anchors of Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM).