For Immediate Release: July 26, 2021

More Than 80 Mayors Call on Congress to Act on Citizenship via Budget Reconciliation

You can listen to a recording of the call here

Washington, DC – Today, more than 80 mayors from at least 27 states released a letter urging President Biden, Vice President Harris and House and Senate leadership to prioritize citizenship for immigrants. Following the release, mayors who helped lead the letter joined advocates to discuss how citizenship can help the nation and its cities recover from COVID-19. Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland, California, Mayor Regina Romero of Tucson, Arizona, and Mayor Paige Cognetti or Scranton, Pennsylvania each participated in the press call.

The three Mayors on the call discussed the critical role immigrants play in their communities and called for support for citizenship measures for Dreamers, TPS holders, farm workers, and other essential workers in any economic recovery legislation, including through budget reconciliation.

Mayor Libby Schaaf (Oakland, CA), said, “Oakland is proud to call ourselves the most unapologetic sanctuary city in the United States. We are in the heart of California with more than 220,000 DACA recipients, which is more than any other state. As the mayor of Oakland, I see first hand everyday how broken our immigration system is. We know that our economy today depends on undocumented workers who would have, under former legal structures in the past, been welcome to this country and allowed to live here free of fear of deportation and allowed to contribute their talent and labor to our great economy. Now is the time to fix it and prioritize citizenship for our undocumented immigrant families that contribute so much to our community.”

“In 2010, when Arizona passed one of the worst anti-immigrant laws, Tucson became the first city in Arizona to take a position against it and declare ourselves an immigrant-welcoming community,” Mayor Regina Romero (Tucson, AZ), said. “It is deeply personal to me to take a stand on immigration; my parents are immigrants, and I am a first-generation U.S. citizen and first-generation college graduate. I saw first hand how my family contributed to not just the fabric of our community, but to also our economy. But now, our essential workers become deportable. It is a failure of our government not to move forward in passing comprehensive immigration reform. Now, we have the chance to pass a comprehensive plan for those who stepped up to support our country during the pandemic while contributing to our economy. For more than two decades, Congress has failed to act and now is the perfect opportunity through reconciliation.”

“We already needed to deliver pathways to citizenship before the COVID-19 pandemic, but now it is even more clear that we need to do this for our country, for these families, and for these workers,” Mayor Paige Cognetti (Scranton, PA), said. “Two-thirds of undocumented workers have been on the front lines, putting their lives on the line throughout this pandemic. To continue to threaten them with deportation after all that they’ve done for our country is unconscionable.”

Sergio Gonzales, Executive Director, Immigration Hub, said, “We know for a fact that if you provide a path to citizenship to these communities that it would provide a $1.5 trillion boost to our GDP over ten years, that it would provide 400,000 jobs, and that it would raise the wages for all workers. This really is part of our economic recovery. After years of gamesmanship, we’re happy to see that Senate Democrats are finally taking the lead to make sure that this issue gets addressed.”

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.