Dems urge Biden to include amnesty for some illegal immigrants in second spending bill
Democrats have made a number of attempts to legalize those in the country illegally
Democrats in both the House and Senate are urging President Biden to include a path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants in the second part of his spending package -- just as similar amnesty efforts are stalling elsewhere in Congress.
The letter -- led by Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. and Alex Padilla, D-Calif., as well as Reps. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, and Ted Lieu, D-Calif. -- calls on Biden to include the Citizenship for Essential Workers Act in the second part of the spending plan.
That bill includes a pathway to citizenship in the American Families Plan for those designated as "essential workers." It would be included in the second part of the spending plan, with signers arguing essential workers have paid a "terrible toll."
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"They are unable to work from home, often live in crowded conditions with their families, work in industries with unsafe conditions, and earn poverty level wages," the letter says. "Thus, the pandemic only worsened their living situations, compounding on the grim socio-economic and racial disparities in our country. A path to citizenship for essential workers is a critical part of building our economy back better."
The amnesty would apply to illegal immigrants working in a broad array of sectors, including health care, emergency response, sanitation, restaurant ownership, food preparation, vending, catering, food packaging, meat processing, hotel or retail work, agricultural work, landscaping, construction, nanny services, and house cleaning and janitorial services, as well as those operating laundromats. It would also apply to those who work in those industries but lost their job due to the coronavirus pandemic, and illegal immigrant relatives of those who died of COVID-19.
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"These immigrant essential workers have more than earned a pathway to citizenship," the letter says.
It includes an immediate adjustment to a green card if passed, followed by a path to full citizenship, which includes the right to vote. CNN first reported on the letter.
The push comes amid a number of efforts for amnesty for left-wing Democrats, immigration activists and the Biden administration, even as a crisis rages at the southern border.
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The White House and congressional Democrats have been pushing for a sweeping immigration bill that would include a pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants in the country already-- with very few exceptions.
As that bill has stalled, with no sign of Republican support in the Senate -- where it would need 10 votes from them -- House Democrats have passed two smaller bills that would give citizenship to illegal immigrant farmworkers and illegal immigrants who came to the country as minors. But both so far have seen no immediate sign of pickup from the Senate.
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Republicans most amenable to passing such measures have said they don’t intend to play ball until the crisis at the southern border is fixed.
"How can you pass an immigration bill when you have an open border?" Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said at a news conference at the border last month. "If they want to accomplish anything on immigration and I want to help them, it would be securing the border."