More than 80 mayors urge to include legalization of immigrants in spending plan

A large number of mayors call for the legalization of immigrants to be included in the spending plan. A coalition in Massachusetts calls ...

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  • A large number of mayors call for the legalization of immigrants to be included in the spending plan.
  • A coalition in Massachusetts calls for legislative measures to help immigrants.
  • Another way for immigrants to obtain citizenship is through the Armed Forces.

Washington, Jul 26 (EFE News) .- More than 80 mayors of at least 27 states urged Congress and President Joe Biden to prioritize the granting of citizenship to millions of immigrants who have risked their lives as essential workers during the pandemic, including the measure in their social spending plan.

“The pandemic revealed how broken our immigration system is and now is the time to repair it,” Oakland, California Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a press conference call. The mayor said that her city “is openly a sanctuary” for immigrants, and affirmed that the “children of these immigrants live in fear every day of coming back from school and finding the house empty” because their relatives have been detained.

Immigration reform for immigrants

Two immigrants working in a harvest

“Even though they themselves, the children, may be US citizens,” they live in fear of the deportation of their relatives, he explained. In their letter, the mayors, including those of large cities such as Houston, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, New York, Atlanta and Philadelphia, insisted before Biden and Congress that an immigration reform must be approved within the legislative process known as “reconciliation ”.

Mayor Regina Romero of Tucson (Arizona) said that undocumented workers who are essential “unfortunately are also deportable and this is a failure of our government that has not acted in years for comprehensive immigration reform.” Now, when Democrats have a slim majority in Congress, “we have a chance to do it,” Romero added.

They have an important role in the economy


Mayor Paige Cognetti of Scranton, Pennsylvania, stated that “two-thirds of essential workers put their lives at risk to continue working during the pandemic.” “This is fundamental for the economy,” he added. “But every day I talk to employers who can’t find workers to keep their businesses running full time.” “Fear of deportation impedes economic recovery efforts,” he added. “I am sure that with the Census (of 2020) we did not get a complete account of the population, due to that fear.

That fear makes it difficult to register voters, and there are people who do not seek social assistance because they are afraid ”. The call to the White House and the Democrats comes a day after President Biden expressed doubts that a path to citizenship for the undocumented in the country can be approved as part of a 3.5 trillion social spending package. dollars processed by Congress. “There has to be a path to citizenship. What remains to be seen is whether it can be part ”of the spending bill, Biden said in statements to the press when he returned to the White House in Wilmington (Delaware), where he spent the weekend. Democrats – from Biden’s party – have proposed a $ 3.5 trillion social spending package, including provisions to open a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants. However, the president had already warned that it will be up to the Senate legal advisor – who interprets the rules of the Upper House – to determine whether or not it is feasible to include immigration measures in a spending package approved by a special channel. EFE News

Coalition asks Massachusetts legislature for measures in favor of immigrants


New York, Jul 1 (EFE News) .- The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Defense Coalition (MIRA) urged the state legislature on Thursday to support and enact policies that help the immigrant community and promote a recovery for collective health and the economic future of the state. He indicated that these actions must include “solid support” in the state budget for programs that benefit immigrants and refugees, after learning the data from a report from the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) that indicates that this community in Massachusetts was the most affected. with the loss of jobs due to the pandemic of covid-19.

According to the study, of the ten states with the largest immigrant populations, Massachusetts tops the five where the impact of job losses was felt the most, and the list also includes California and New York. In states where the economy closed earlier and the shutdown was longer, immigrants were particularly affected, according to that report.

Immigrants are key to the economy


It notes that between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the second quarter of 2020, employment rates for the foreign-born fell 13 percentage points in California, 15 in New York and 22 in Massachusetts. In general in the country, their recovery continues to lag behind that of native workers. Among the actions that MIRA is asking the legislature are emergency cash assistance and passing laws that recognize, restore and support the participation of immigrants in key sectors of economic and civic life, such as the Labor and Family Mobility Act ( driver’s licenses for the undocumented).

Also the Fair Enrollment Law, which would allow them to pay for their university studies as legal residents. “The pandemic had a devastating impact on Massachusetts workers and families, and this report illustrates how that burden fell disproportionately on immigrant communities,” said Daniel Pereira, MIRA spokesman. “Unemployment rates among essential immigrant workers, those working in the fields of health care, construction and entertainment and hospitality, and immigrant women were particularly high in Massachusetts during the height of the pandemic,” it further noted. when referring to the results of the study. EFE News

They promote pathway to citizenship for immigrants in the Armed Forces


Washington, Jun 23 (EFE News) .- More than 40,000 foreigners who are legal immigrants in the United States and serve in the Armed Forces “deserve a path to citizenship,” Senator Alex Padilla, a California Democrat, said Wednesday. Padilla presided over a hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship and Border Security, in which the situation of foreigners who have served or are currently members of the Armed Forces was analyzed.

“They chose to serve to defend this country,” Padilla said. “Every year about 5,000 permanent residents join the Armed Forces, and there are about 40,000 foreign citizens on active duty.” According to the senator, almost 17% of foreigners who are members of the Armed Forces have not received US citizenship.

Immigrant contributions to the military

A soldier's uniform with the USA flag on it

“These immigrants bring special skills to our Armed Forces,” he added. “The average immigrant who joins the Armed Forces has higher levels of education and brings strategic knowledge, such as other languages.” “3% of veterans are immigrants,” Padilla continued. “But this contribution is not reflected in our immigration policy.”

“The changes introduced by the Government of (now former President) Donald Trump in the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security caused a 72% decrease in the naturalization of the military.” “Immigrant soldiers and their families deserve a path to citizenship,” concluded Padilla. “It is a matter of military necessity.”

At the service of the country

A saluting soldier of the US armed forces

For his part, Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, said that legislation that opens a path for citizenship “is the right thing to do.” These immigrants “are excellent candidates for citizenship,” he said. Cornyn recalled that nearly two decades ago the law required that legal immigrants enlisted in the military must serve three years in order to qualify for citizenship.

“In collaboration with (the late Democratic Senator Ted) Kennedy, in 2003 we introduced a bill that shortened the term to two years and that was included in the 2004 defense budget,” he added. “We should make it easier for legal residents to receive citizenship,” Cornyn said. Senator Tamm Duckworth, a Democrat from Illinois and a former helicopter pilot in the Army, from which service she retired, wounded in combat and with the rank of lieutenant coronal, said that “the time has come for Congress to recognize these immigrants who have demonstrated their loyalty ”. “These men and women are proud Americans who want to become citizens of the nation whose uniform they have earned in service,” he added. EFE News

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