Earlier today, state and local leaders joined immigration organizers and impacted individuals on a press call to demand the administration move forward on immigration policies that would put immigrants rights first and place them on a legal path to citizenship. Ahead of Immigrants’ Rights Day and the mark of Biden’s 100 days in office, speakers on the call laid out their hopes on the way forward.
Luis Aguilar, CASA’s Virginia Director, DACA holder, said, “The Biden administration, while not having a perfect track record, has made many positive steps to support the immigrant community. Now is their time to prove it. This year, May 1 – International Workers Day – presents the perfect opportunity for us as working class immigrants to stand together and speak to the Biden administration. Join us for the Mega Marcha del Inmigrante — the Immigrant Justice March.” Learn more at wearecasa.org/may1rally
Angelica Salas, Executive Director, CHIRLA, said, “A lot of hard work has been started during the first 100 days of the Biden Administration. The work and the political will must catch up to the urgency of the moment. Far too many lives are at stake during what has been a health, economic, and psychological disaster for immigrant communities, especially those who must continue to work and serve, and whom we now recognize as essential workers. There are at least four strong and bold legislative immigration reform solutions on the table for Congress to tackle but a number of obstacles remain, including racism, xenophobia, Trumpism, and naysayers in Congress who have been denying our community a chance at a path to citizenship for more than three decades. The time to value the dignity and humanity of immigrants has come. The time to keep commitments is now. Let’s do this.”
Vicente Reyes, Son of undocumented farm workers, said, “Even after suffering the highest death rates, farmworkers did not ask if the food had been harvested for a red state or blue state. We feed everyone because every American eats. That’s why Congress must act. They must use every ounce of power to deliver long and overdue relief for farmworkers. Congress must use every tool available to them to ensure that essential workers like farmworkers, TPS recipients, and DREAMERS receive their earned right to apply for U.S. citizenship.”
Haddy Gassama, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator, UndocuBlack, said, “Members of our community who hold Temporary Protected Status are in fact not protected. Rather, they are held hostage, by a system that could hurl them back to dangerous conditions, citing the outcome of litigation or by refusing to redesignate TPS. TPS holders are constantly holding their breath between intervals of redesignation. It is only with a legalization that they can take a collective sigh of relief. Congress and the Biden administration must keep their promise to our communities by passing legislation that will serve as permanent protection for our communities.”
Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director, VOCES de la Frontera (WI), said, “Immigrant essential workers have been fighting tirelessly on the frontlines during this pandemic, without economic relief and too often in unsafe working conditions that led to outbreaks, higher levels of sickness, and death. This pandemic has put into relief the need for permanent protections for our essential workers. Democrat leaders must step up and use the power that is already in their hands to include citizenship for the 11 million undocumented in the forthcoming COVID-19 infrastructure budget bill.”
Lawrence Benito, Executive Director, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), said, “Throughout this year, immigrant leaders have shown President Biden why citizenship for all should be a priority for his administration, and we’re not done. We will make sure President Biden hears us again on May 1st. It’s time for him to take action and he can start right now by including a pathway to citizenship for essential workers, immigrant youth, TPS holders and farm workers in the Build Back Better Reconciliation Package. We cannot let Republicans derail our efforts.”
“Today we are calling on the President and Congress to take action to create the pathway to citizenship that millions of undocumented immigrants need,” said Lorella Praeli, President of Community Change Action. “Promises are not enough. The U.S. Citizenship Act, a bold and welcome marker, is not enough if it doesn’t turn into new law. We need to pass legislation this year. The White House must start working with Democrats to make sure that citizenship for essential workers, undocumented youth, TPS holders and farmworkers are included in the infrastructure package.”