For Immediate Release: September 8, 2021


Local Elected Leaders Urge Passage of Citizenship Proposals in Budget Reconciliation Package

Now Is The Time, This Is The Year

A recording of the call can be found here.

Washington, DC – On a powerful press call, Wednesday, September 8, local elected leaders announced their support for citizenship and the release of a letter signed by more than 700 elected leaders from across the country— including mayors, state delegates and senators, councilmembers, board members, etc. The letter, first reported on by The Hill, was sent to the Biden Administration and Congress urging them to prioritize the inclusion of a clean pathway to citizenship for essential workers, Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, and their families in all economic recovery legislation including through budget reconciliation. 

The letter, signed by 715 state and local leaders, says in part:

As our state and local communities continue to confront a public health and economic catastrophe that has claimed more than 500,000 lives and exacerbated deep racial and economic inequities, it is vital that Congress enact protections for Dreamers, TPS holders, and essential immigrant workers to secure the health of our nation and to lay the foundation for an equitable economic recovery for all communities across the country. 

During the press call, the elected leaders discussed why it is crucial for their communities and states that Congress acts on a path to citizenship this year.

Rep. Raquel Teran, Member of Arizona House of Representatives (LD30), said 

“As we build back better, we must include our immigrant communities who contribute to our economy and society every single day. It will be imperative that every legislative option be on the table to bring forth a permanent solution.”

Rep. Anna Eskamani, Member of Florida House of Representatives (HD47), said 

“As a daughter of immigrants I know all too well the challenges that immigrants face in the United States — but I also know the incredible contributions immigrants make to our country, the public support for immigrants, and the incredible urgency to take action now. It’s been 35 years since the last meaningful pathway to citizenship legislation in Congress and this is our best chance to get it done, transform lives and build back better for our nation.” 

Helen Gym, Councilmember-At-Large, Philadelphia, PA, said 

“I represent a city which has reversed decades of population decline in part due to our vibrant immigrant communities – one in four residents are immigrants or were born to immigrant parents like myself. Time and time again, local leaders have stepped up when federal inaction left our immigrant communities vulnerable — through strengthening sanctuary protections and allocating city dollars for a local deportation legal defense fund.

Congress owes our immigrant communities action. It has been a quarter century since the last major immigration bill which expanded a path to citizenship passed through Congress. Our economy, our laws, our courts and our rights have suffered in the absence of sensibly modernizing immigration laws. A generation of DREAMers are now parents themselves. TPS holders who are victims of climate change and increasing man-made natural disasters, await. As the co-Chair of Local Progress, as a second generation immigrant, and as an elected leader of a proud sanctuary City established because our federal government has failed to act, I am calling on Congress along with the 700 elected officials who signed our letter, to use every means at our disposal to ensure that immigrants are covered in every aspect of the budget reconciliation bill.”

Michaelle Solages, New York State Assemblymember, said 

“During the darkest days of the pandemic and beyond, immigrants have gone out at significant personal risk to themselves and their families to perform jobs that were essential to the functioning of society. They faced the brunt of the pandemic with very little protection due to the prior Administration’s cruel and reckless immigration policies.

Immigrant families have proven, time and time again, their commitment to our shared American values. The need for legislative action is urgent. I join my colleagues in calling on Congress to prioritize the inclusion of a clear pathway to citizenship for essential workers, Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, and their families in all economic recovery legislation including through budget reconciliation.”

Johana Bencomo, City Council, Las Cruces, NM, said 

“I must include a call to action to the movement and our allies in Congress, to fight back against anti-immigrant and border militarization amendments that are only rooted in fear and xenophobia. Border communities are diverse and thriving, we are economic engines with approximately 2.3 million undocumented essential workers and 1.2 million farm workers living in Border states. And 1 in 5 DACA recipients live in Border communities. We must ensure that a pathway to citizenship is just and clear of more border militarization dollars that can continue to put undocumented Americans in danger of detention and deportation. I am very proud to stand alongside the majority of New Mexico’s Congressional delegation and over 90 local elected leaders from New Mexico in support of including a pathway to citizenship for essential workers, to include farmworkers, DACA & TPS recipients in the budget reconciliation process. Undocumented essential workers have shown up for us. It’s time we show up for them.”

Greisa Martinez Rosas, Executive Director, United We Dream Action and We Are Home Co-Chair, said 

“Right now, we are in a watershed moment of delivering life-saving relief to millions of people nationwide, including citizenship for millions of undocumented people through reconciliation. This moment would not have been possible without a broad, Black-led and youth-powered, multi-racial coalition of movement leaders who built deep political power over the past several years and mobilized voters to the polls in 2020 to win Democrats control of the House, Senate, and White House. For our communities and the millions of voters who immigrant youth will continue to mobilize to the polls in 2022, success for Democrats will be measured by whether or not they deliver citizenship for millions, not how hard they tried. Congress must meet the moral urgency of this moment and ensure that we do not leave this year without citizenship for millions of people.”

We Are Home is a nationwide campaign to fight for immigrant communities on three fronts: prioritizing and demanding a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in America; a moratorium and overhaul of interior enforcement; and broad affirmative relief from deportation. We Are Home is co-chaired by Community Change/Community Change Action; National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA)/Care in Action; Service Employees International Union (SEIU); United Farm Workers/UFW Foundation; and United We Dream.