WASHINGTON, DC – FWD.us President Todd Schulte issued the following statement on the Biden-Harris Administration’s Day 1 Executive Actions on Immigration, and the Biden-Harris Administration’s legislation to reform our immigration system:
“We are thankful that President Biden and Vice President Harris are following through on their commitment to send a bill to Congress to fix our broken immigration system, centered on a pathway to citizenship for the nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants with deep roots in our communities and who are vital to the response and recovery from COVID-19. This is an opportunity for the new Administration and for our Congress to restore the U.S.’ moral leadership, do right by the millions of hardworking immigrants who have helped keep all of us safe and cared for during the COVID-19 pandemic, and keep families safe and together. This is just a first step. What needs to happen in short order is the House and Senate must move legislation that is signed into law.
“Further, the Administration’s announcement of a series of immigration executive actions to protect DACA, to eliminate the discriminatory travel bans on largely Muslim-majority countries and immigration restrictions on African countries, to pause the deportations that cruelly separated families across the country, and to halt the building of an unnecessary border wall, represent important steps toward repairing the damage, chaos and cruelty done over the last four years. These actions will provide immediate relief, ensuring that our families and communities can more fully contribute to the ongoing response and recovery to COVID-19. We applaud the Administration’s commitment to fulfilling these important campaign promises and look forward to their continued efforts to make vital administrative reforms to the immigration system. We also hope to very soon see meaningful action to roll back the previous Administration’s efforts to destroy the asylum system, implement the deeply harmful public charge memo, and slash legal immigration avenues under the pretext of pandemic restrictions as well as other actions.
“For decades, millions of immigrants who are American in all ways but on paper have contributed faithfully to the United States, raising their families and building their lives here. They are our neighbors, classmates, and friends. In the midst of a deadly global pandemic that has already killed 400,000 Americans, millions of undocumented people are serving our nation on the frontlines, saving lives and protecting us while they face their own uncertain futures. They work despite not knowing whether they will be able to continue living in the United States next year, next month, or even tomorrow.
“We owe these hardworking people more than our praise. They deserve equal protection, dignity and justice, and the chance to live their lives without fear in the country that they love, together with their families.
“The announcement today of meaningful immigration reform legislation that provides a pathway to citizenship and desperately needed relief for millions of deserving undocumented people is historically significant and an important moment for our country. Among those who would be protected from deportation are over one million Dreamers who have lived in the United States since childhood. Many now have kids of their own.
“We have an enormous opportunity to build a humane, commonsense approach to immigration that keeps families safe and together – beyond merely undoing the terrible harms visited on immigrant families and communities who were relentlessly targeted by the Trump Administration using our all-too-easily weaponized immigration system. We call on the new Administration to be extra vigilant in avoiding old traps, and to ensure that long overdue efforts to tackle the harmful and racially disparate impacts of the American criminal justice system are extended to the immigration system, where too often damaging criminal justice policies have been reinforced and reproduced. The pause on removals announced today, provides an opportunity to reset immigration enforcement, and establish priorities that will keep families and communities safe and together, and align with our values.
“At the end of the day, the success of our country comes in large part from our longstanding tradition of encouraging families seeking a better life to leave behind everything they know to begin contributing to the United States. They deserve the opportunity to live a dignified life. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle must act expeditiously to bring this legislation to the floor for a vote to create the modern, compassionate and humane immigration system that our nation deserves.”