ICYMI: Secretaries Buttigieg and Walsh Highlight Need for Immigration Reform for Economic Recovery

We wanted to make sure you’d seen two key events with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh this week, with both cabinet officials highlighting the need for Congress to pass immigration policy including a pathway to citizenship that will boost our nation’s economic recovery from COVID-19.

The events underscored the Biden Administration’s commitment to securing permanent protections for Dreamers, TPS holders, and undocumented essential workers across the country.

In Washington, DC, on Tuesday, Secretary Buttigieg and Mary Kay Henry, International President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), hosted an immigration roundtable discussion with 32BJ SEIU’s airport workers at Reagan National Airport (DCA).

In the roundtable, essential workers discussed their unique experiences as immigrants, the ways in which they have risked their lives during the pandemic, and the urgent need for a pathway to citizenship. An estimated 20,000 SEIU members are TPS holders; emphasizing why passing permanent protections is not only vital for immigrant communities, but key to our nation’s ability to recover from the pandemic. As Secretary Buttigieg has noted, “We’ve got a lot more work to do and we know that includes comprehensive immigration package that the [Biden/Harris Administration] has proposed- including a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants, an expedited path for farmworkers, for Dreamers, and for those with temporary protected status and good policies that address the root cause of migration in Central America.”

And in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, yesterday, Secretary Walsh met with immigrant workers, business and labor leaders, and state and local officials to discuss the American Jobs Plan, and highlight how solid immigration policy is intrinsically connected to our country’s economic recovery.

As Secretary Walsh made clear during yesterday’s event, “This Administration knows that the fight for immigrant rights and the fight for workers’ rights are the same. In order to build an inclusive workforce and economy, we need to value and protect the rights of immigrant workers.”

More than 130,000 TPS holders and approximately 1 million Dreamers have been working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic to keep communities healthy and safe. Similarly, three in ten home care workers are immigrants. A pathway to citizenship is an urgent issue that would critically change the lives of these workers and millions more by allowing them to fully participate in our economy and their communities. These meetings build on past commitments by Secretary Walsh in pushing the Senate to pass immigrant protections this year.

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