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SPLC Action to Congress: Pass the Immigration Bills Today to Ensure a Future with Dignity for Millions Tomorrow

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives is voting on two bills today that would create a pathway to citizenship for millions of people who have called the United States home for years or decades. Voters across the political spectrum support a pathway to citizenship for people who are undocumented.

The American Dream and Promise Act would make nearly 700,000 current recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program immediately eligible for permanent citizenship, in addition to creating a path to permanent residence and citizenship for additional people who came to the United States as children and recipients of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED).  

The Farm Workforce Modernization Act (FWMA) would create a pathway to citizenship for farmworkers who have worked in the U.S. for at least 180 days during the last two years.  

The following statement is from Kelli Garcia, federal policy counsel of the SPLC Action Fund.  

“These critical bills are an opportunity to provide the safety of permanent residence and the stability of citizenship to millions of immigrants who are already integral members of American life. SPLC Action urges the House to pass these laws today.  

“We echo the calls of immigrant youth: their home is here. The Dream and Promise Act is a testament to the organizing, resiliency and leadership of immigrant youth. This bill would also extend permanent relief to TPS holders and DED recipients – immigrants and refugees who are in the United States to build their lives or raise a family free from danger of persecution or violence. 

“And farmworkers – essential workers who have kept the country going even at great risk to themselves and their families – should no longer have to live in the shadows. Farmworkers who are undocumented are less likely to report employer abuses on the job; for too long, we’ve exploited the labor of these essential workers. It’s long past time they are treated with dignity and granted full citizenship. 

“But these bills are only a first step, in part because they wrongly include criminalization bars. One’s prior contact with the racially inequitable criminal legal system should not preclude them from this long-overdue relief. Moreover, the FWMA contains provisions that limit access to certain public benefits that would apply to agricultural workers even as they would be working in some of the lowest paid jobs in the country and paying taxes during the long path to citizenship.  

“We must continue our work until everyone who has made their home in this country is able to live freely and without fear that they will be torn away from their families and their communities.”