Advocate for Citizenship for Undocumented Immigrant People
The 11 million undocumented and under-documented immigrant people living in the United States have made it clear: "We are home.” Ask Congress to reflect this reality in our laws so that no person continues to live in fear of losing their home, family, or community. Our immigration laws should honor the God-given dignity of every person, protect family unity, and promote thriving communities. Call on Congress to work together in a bipartisan way to pass the U.S. Citizenship Act.
Our immigrant communities deserve every opportunity to build a pathway to citizenship. Throughout this year, there will be opportunities to advocate for bills that offer a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, farmworkers, and essential workers. Change is needed now, and each of these bills will provide relief to millions of people who are home in the United States. These types of bills will serve as first steps towards the goal of creating a pathway to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented and under-documented immigrant people who are home in the United States.
Right now, we are on the cusp of taking a giant step towards work permits and protection from deportations or a pathway to citizenship for undocumented and under-documented immigrant people. All of us need to make sure Congress makes it happen as they decide federal spending.
Congress has the power to honor the personhood and contributions of our immigrant communities by securing permanent protections for millions of undocumented immigrant people through the annual federal budget process. This year, the federal budget is being done through the reconciliation process, which isn’t subject to filibuster rules and only needs a majority of 51 votes to pass in the Senate.
The budget resolution each year creates a blueprint with broad categories of money for the different parts of the government to spend. In August, the House and Senate agreed on this blueprint, and they decided to include funding for a pathway to citizenship. Through the budget reconciliation process, committees in the House and the Senate are drafting the specifics on how that money will be spent in what is known as the reconciliation bill.
The House committee in charge of immigration worked with congressional leaders to draft the specifics of the pathway to citizenship. They presented two options to the Senate Parliamentarian – an advisor to the Senate who offers guidance on Senate rules and precedent – who advised against including either of them in the reconciliation bill. Our communities need relief this year, so advocates and congressional leaders are working to include a legalization program that contains work permits and protection from deportation in the reconciliation bill.
This is the closest we have been to getting a legalization program for this many undocumented immigrant people in over 35 years. The next few weeks are going to be critical for the millions of people, families, and communities who have been pushing and hoping for this moment for years. Now more than ever we need to be pushing our legislators to ensure that permanent protections for immigrant people are included in the reconciliation bill.
Citizenship for all 11 million is still our ultimate goal, and we will continue to work toward that, but this option will immediately offer relief to 7 to 8 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.
Together, we must commit to continue to advocate for citizenship for all 11 million immigrant people over the long haul. Getting citizenship for all will require constant and persistent advocacy, and we must commit to keep that pressure going. This year we have a unique window of opportunity to make this happen, and our efforts can ensure that we do not miss that opportunity.
Tell Congress: Permanent protections for our immigrant communities must be part of the reconciliation bill!
This year, Congress has the power to make the moral choice to secure permanent protections for millions in our immigrant communities through the annual federal budget process. Permanent protections for undocumented immigrant people is a moral imperative first and foremost, but it is also an investment in our communities and our economies. Permanent protections would also directly impact the federal budget which is why it belongs in the reconciliation bill. Ask Congress to honor the personhood and contributions of our immigrant communities by working to keep permanent protections for undocumented immigrants in the reconciliation bill.