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Home reconciliation package would pave the way for citizenship

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A provision in the $ 3.5 trillion reconciliation package would order Congress to chart a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented migrants.

If passed, the House’s provision would provide a pathway to citizenship for those participating in the Deferred Action Program for Childhood Arrivals, often referred to as Dreamers; agricultural workers; those who have temporary protection status, which means that they cannot return to their country; and essential workers.

The Senate version also supports a path to citizenship for undocumented migrants, but does not specify which groups would be eligible.

Erika Castro, organizing director of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, said in a statement Monday that immigrant workers are a “central part of our economy” and have waited for more than 30 years for meaningful legislation to be passed by Congress.

“Migrant workers are essential and it is time for our country to value their work, their sacrifices and their contributions by offering them a path to citizenship and protection against deportation,” said Castro. “We cannot continue to simultaneously treat essential workers as both essential and deportable, as immigrant essential workers have more than gained a path to citizenship after helping recovery from a pandemic and have proven that they are essential to the infrastructure and well-being of our country. ”

There are more than 11 million undocumented migrants in the United States, according to the Institute for Migration Policy, a non-partisan think tank that studies migration. An estimated 162,000 live in Nevada.

If passed, the provision could affect dozens of states with large immigrant populations such as Florida, California, Texas, Georgia, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

“Besides being the moral thing to do, providing a path to Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status for dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients, farm laborers, and essential workers will be a godsend. for our economy, ”according to the House Budget Resolution 2022, which provides reconciliation instructions to all committees.

Laura Martin, executive director of PLAN, called for a House vote on Aug. 24 to approve the master plan, which included a path to citizenship in the landmark resolution package, adding that it “brings thousands of immigrants together of Nevada and millions of others across the country. towards a path to citizenship.

“Immigrants have been the backbone of our communities and during this pandemic have been critical,” she said. “By advancing the budget resolution, our communities can finally get the relief we have long deserved.” We look forward to another vote in the Senate, we look forward to continued support from our two Senators. “

The Senate package provides the Senate Judiciary Committee with $ 107 billion for “Legal Permanent Status for Skilled Immigrants,” investments in border security and the community violence response initiative. Lawmakers will have a flexible deadline of September 15. Nevada Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto called for immigration reforms to be considered as part of reconciliation.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Told a press conference in late July that immigration reform would be included in the reconciliation agenda.

“I believe that immigration should be in reconciliation, part of that in reconciliation”, Pelosi noted.

Since the presidential election, immigration advocates have pushed so that the DACA is not only enshrined in law, but widened to include family members of beneficiaries, as well as the desire for more substantial reform of immigration policy.

Some states with large numbers of DACA recipients include Florida, Colorado, Missouri, Georgia, North Carolina, Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona, according to The data United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and the 2016 Census.

In July, groups like Make the Road Nevada and PLAN rallied outside the Federal Courthouse to urge Senators and the Congressional delegation to create a path to citizenship for essential workers as well as DACA beneficiaries and GST, whether through budget reconciliation or other legislative means.

But members of the House Congressional Hispanic Caucus have opposed policies that would undermine immigration reform, such as allowing only DACA recipients to be eligible for citizenship and excluding TPS holders, farm laborers and workers. essential.

“As the Senate begins the process of budget reconciliation, we call on our colleagues to oppose provisions that would undermine immigration reform efforts,” said caucus chair Representative Raul Ruiz (D-Cali. ) In a joint statement. “The inclusion of any anti-immigrant amendment could threaten the package’s prospects in the House of Representatives.”

Some Republicans, such as Sens. Thom Tillis of North Carolina and John Cornyn of Texas argued for a separate provision allowing only DACA recipients to be eligible for citizenship. There are approximately 700,000 recipients protected by DACA.

The co-chairs of the CHC’s Budget Reconciliation and Immigration Executive Orders Working Group, Representatives Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) and Adriano Espaillat (DN.Y.) also joined Ruiz’s statement, saying that immigration reform would benefit the economy.

“The CHC remains a strong advocate for immigrant communities across our country and will continue to work to ensure that immigration is part of the budget reconciliation process, which will benefit our economy and our recovery,” said they stated.

A report by the Center for American Progress found that if Congress provided a pathway to citizenship for the nearly 11 million undocumented migrants in the United States, the country’s gross domestic product would increase by $ 1.7 trillion in the United States. over the next 10 years and would create almost half a million new jobs.

Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), Vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said he had a White House meeting with the chairman, along with Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois and the Senator Bob Menendez (DN .J.) “to reiterate our support for reconciliation, including the immigration proposals”.

Many immigrant advocacy groups felt immigration reform fell through with the Biden administration. These groups therefore hope either for change through the reconciliation process or to push lawmakers to support their cause.

“I know DACA is not enough and will not stop fighting until all members of my family and community are protected,” said Yazmin Valdez, DACA recipient and member of United We Dream Action, an immigration advocacy group, in a statement.

Valdez, who was door-to-door in Arizona advocating for support for citizenship pathways for undocumented migrants, said the Arizona Democratic Sense. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly “need to remember that it was the black, brown, and directly affected communities that mobilized millions of people to go Arizona Blue and deliver them office seats.

“Now it is time they used their vital role in the Senate to deliver what their constituents and the majority of Americans overwhelmingly support, citizenship for millions of people,” she said.

Tess Wilkes, a supervising attorney at the Santa Fe Dreamers Project, a group in New Mexico that provides legal and advocacy services to immigrants, said she hoped to see bipartisan legislation for immigration reform, “but we don’t have not seen it yet “.

“If this is the way things are to be, we are in favor of it,” Wilkes said of the reconciliation.

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