Following the advancement early Monday of an ambitious and historic budget resolution that includes funding for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented communities, dozens of leading organizations—including the American Federation of Teachers, MoveOn, and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund—are calling on legislators to remain firm and ensure legalization is passed through the reconciliation process.
“To Build Back Better we have to make sure everyone is included, particularly those traditionally left behind,” 50 organizations said in a statement received by Daily Kos on Thursday. “Along with jobs, care, and climate, citizenship for immigrant workers and families is an integral part of the recovery package that Congress must enact this year.”
“Citizenship for immigrant youth, TPS holders, farmworkers, and essential workers has overwhelming bipartisan public support—including from majorities of independents and Republicans,” the organizations continued. “Along with investments in jobs, care, and climate, the investment in citizenship propels economic growth, creates jobs, and increases wages for all Americans.”
Recent polling has shown why Congressional Democrats should ignore bad-faith Republican-led attacks targeting a number of pro-immigrant votes taken in the House earlier this year. 70% of likely voters, including Republicans, say they support a pathway to citizenship for young immigrants, temporary status holders, and essential workers like farm laborers.
And, the fact is that passing legalization for these communities through the budget reconciliation process remains our best chance in years. “If the Senate parliamentarian doesn’t agree, Democrats need to remember one thing: she’s not in charge, and that her opinions are advisory only and can be overruled,” Daily Kos’ Joan McCarter wrote (and I’m again repeating). “This is a promise Democrats have to fulfill.”
Findings from the Center for American Progress (CA) and the University of California, Davis’ Global Migration Center in June said enacting a pathway to citizenship for Dream and Promise-eligible immigrants and essential immigrant workers “would boost the GDP by a cumulative total of $1.5 trillion over 10 years and create 400,800 new jobs.”
“Legalization, followed by a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, will have long-reaching benefits for the U.S. economy,” CAP said last year. It’s an economic boon, yes, but it’s also the just thing to do. Congressional Democrats must remember that.
”The political moment to enact a citizenship measure is now,” the 50 organizations continue. “It’s been 35 years since the last meaningful pathway to citizenship legislation was enacted. And after four years of continuous and relentless attacks on immigrant communities—even while they played instrumental roles in keeping the country alive and moving during a global pandemic—it’s time to act. There is no moral and economic recovery without including immigrants.”
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