Democrats Call For Fast-Tracking Citizenship For Undocumented Essential Workers

Written by on January 15, 2021

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) and Sen.-designate Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) are pushing for undocumented important staff on the entrance strains of the coronavirus pandemic to be fast-tracked for U.S. citizenship. 

Historical past will bear in mind them as American heroes,” Padilla stated on a press name Friday, talking of undocumented folks working in agriculture, well being care, grocery shops and extra through the pandemic.

“We now have an obligation to deal with them as important,” added Padilla, who will take Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ Senate seat in California after she’s inaugurated. Padilla’s personal mother and father got here to the U.S. from Mexico within the 1960s and labored in eating places and home cleansing.  

Castro stated he’s engaged on laws to right away shield undocumented important staff from deportation and pace up their path to citizenship. Castro, the previous chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, is hoping to get it handed as a part of the following coronavirus aid package deal after President-elect Joe Biden takes workplace. 

“These are individuals who feed us, clear our properties and hospitals and places of work… they usually do all this whereas dwelling in worry of deportation, exploitation and now of this pandemic,” Castro stated, noting that many who work in meatpacking, farm work and different front-line industries don’t have the choice to work at home, and their employers don’t present them with paid sick depart. 

The proposed protections would apply to an estimated 5 million staff out of a complete of over 11 million undocumented immigrants within the U.S., stated Lorella Praeli, president of the advocacy group Neighborhood Change Motion. 

Undocumented immigrants are amongst these hardest hit by the pandemic since they’re disproportionately represented amongst staff deemed “important” — from farmworkers to constructing cleaners — who’re risking their lives whereas tens of millions of Individuals keep dwelling.

In the meantime, undocumented immigrants have been excluded from Congress’ aid packages, as they have been made ineligible for stimulus checks. They’re additionally not eligible for unemployment advantages. 

Because the coronavirus surges, Latinx and Black persons are round 4 occasions as prone to be hospitalized as white folks, and almost thrice as prone to die, in keeping with the Middle for Illness Management and Prevention.

Final month, France fast-tracked citizenship processes for lots of of immigrant front-line staff, together with well being care staff, rubbish collectors, housekeepers and cashiers. 

Earlier this week, dozens of U.S. lawmakers signed a letter led by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus applauding Biden’s dedication to immigration reform and urging him to take speedy motion, on condition that the presidency and each homes of Congress will quickly be in Democrats’ arms.  

Historical past will bear in mind them as American heroes. California Sen.-designate Alex Padilla, of undocumented staff within the COVID-19 pandemic

Padilla stated he and Castro plan to get the 5 million undocumented important staff fast-tracked for citizenship as a part of the following coronavirus aid invoice after which work towards a broader path to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants in a later immigration reform invoice. 

“Understanding the urgency of COVID aid, it appears there’s a fast and straightforward method to get a superb variety of these [people] protected sooner quite than later,” Padilla stated on Friday’s press name.  

The incoming California senator stated he and Castro have been talking with the Biden-Harris administration and plan to speak with Home and Senate leaders quickly. The places of work of Biden’s transition crew, in addition to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who is ready to turn into Senate majority chief, and Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark. 

Biden and Harris’ platform features a dedication to work with Congress to cross laws to create a path to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants within the U.S.  

Greisa Martínez Rosas, head of the immigrant rights group United We Dream, stated the group helps Castro and Padilla’s proposal and calls for “that Congress makes use of each avenue attainable to cross insurance policies that embody a pathway to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants.”  

The method for undocumented staff to realize authorized standing within the U.S. could be sophisticated and take years. When it comes to what advocates are hoping “fast-tracking” citizenship would appear to be on this case, Angelica Salas, govt director of immigrant rights group CHIRLA, stated that the laws would first be debated promptly as a part of the following coronavirus aid package deal. Then eligible immigrants would obtain inexperienced playing cards, granting them everlasting residency and safety from deportation, after which they might apply for citizenship after a couple of years. 

Patrice Lawrence, co-director of the immigrant group UndocuBlack Community, stated laws recognizing immigrants’ “humanity and our contributions to this nation is lengthy overdue” and {that a} invoice defending undocumented important staff is “the naked minimal this nation can do.”


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