ICYMI: On Heels of Texas DACA Ruling, Momentum Builds for Congress to Use Reconciliation to Act on Citizenship

We wanted to make sure you’d seen that, on the heels of a federal court in Texas’ ruling blocking new individuals from accessing DACA protections, momentum continues to build for Congress to pass a pathway to citizenship that would protect DACA recipients, TPS holders, farmworkers, and other essential workers – including millions of whom continue to serve in frontline roles and COVID-19 recovery efforts.

Vice President Kamala Harris met Friday with DACA recipients, Dreamers without DACA, and immigrant rights leaders at the White House, hearing directly from them and urging the Senate to pass two key pieces of bipartisan legislation that recently passed the House:

At the meeting, Vice President Harris said:

“I want to make clear to the Dreamers who are here and those who are watching from home: This is your home… And we see you, and you are not alone… we recognize that you deserve all the rights that come with American citizenship. And so we will be tireless in fighting for a pathway to citizenship…

“The President and I have repeatedly called on Congress to pass the bipartisan American Dream and Promise Act and the Farm Workers Protection and Modernization Act. And we need Congress to finally create a pathway towards citizenship. I spoke with Senator Durbin last night about this very topic, and we stand in solidarity on this issue — which is we will not give up in this fight.”

The White House reiterated its unwavering commitment to securing a pathway to citizenship immediately after Judge Hanen announced his ruling, with President Biden stating:

“Only Congress can ensure a permanent solution by granting a path to citizenship for Dreamers that will provide the certainty and stability that these young people need and deserve… It is my fervent hope that through reconciliation or other means, Congress will finally provide security to all Dreamers, who have lived too long in fear.”

DHS Secretary Ali Mayorkas voiced his department’s strong support for DACA recipients after the Hanen ruling, stating:“DHS remains focused on safeguarding DACA, and we will engage the public in a rulemaking process to preserve and fortify DACA. The Department of Justice also intends to appeal yesterday’s order. Moreover, we will continue processing DACA renewal requests, consistent with the ruling. Still, only the passage of legislation will give full protection and a path to citizenship to DACA recipients.”

Senator Joe Manchin (D – WV), a critical vote, made clear that he would support including immigration provisions in a budget reconciliation bill.

Two key committee chairs, Senate Budget Committee Chair Bernie Sanders (I – VT) and House Budget Committee Chair John Yarmuth (D – KY), have spoken out in the last week on including immigration in the budget reconciliation process.

Senator Sanders said, “we’re trying to cover people who have been in the forefront, among other things, of protecting our economy, critical care workers, dreamers, and others. I have believed for a long time, as I think almost all the members of the Democratic Caucus and some Republicans, that the time is long overdue to pass comprehensive immigration reform and a path toward citizenship.”

On Friday, the Washington Post editorial board urged Congress to pass a long-overdue pathway to citizenship:

“The failures of Congress to address pressing problems are too numerous to count, but there are few more egregious than its inability to provide a path forward, and a normal life, for a million or more young adults known as “dreamers.” That’s because a fix would not just be easy; it would also be overwhelmingly popular… Polls show that both Democrats and Republicans, by wide margins, favor a path to permanent legal status for dreamers. Crafting a bill to achieve that would present no great legislative challenge.”

Also in the Washington Post just this week, Janet Murguía and William Kristol urged Democrats to pass a pathway to citizenship via reconciliation, highlighting the critical contributions of undocumented individuals to our ongoing recovery from COVID-19:

“... the only answer is a legislative solution, passed by Congress, for [D]reamers, those in temporary protected status, and other immigrant essential workers and their families… All of which brings us to the opportunity in front of Congress: budget reconciliation…. a pathway to citizenship would have a substantial budgetary impact and is essential to long-term economic growth.

This is not the first time immigration measures have been included in a budget reconciliation package… Americans want Congress to legislate a pathway to citizenship to keep families safe and together, especially those who have contributed so much to weathering covid-19 and to the current recovery.”

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