CWLA believes 2021 is the year to deliver citizenship for Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, farm workers and essential workers and their families who stepped up to support our country throughout the pandemic while contributing to our economy. The latest federal ruling in Texas against Dreamers underscores the urgency to deliver a path to citizenship for Dreamers and immigrant workers via budget reconciliation. This ruling comes after our victory from the New York Federal court last year reinstating DACA in full. Citizenship is critical for the country’s economic recovery and our efforts to rebuild our communities’ infrastructure.
The ruling means that Judge Hanen has sided with the Texas Attorney General and has partially limited the DACA program. While new applications will no longer be approved, renewals will continue to move forward. The ruling goes into effect immediately. For DACA recipients and DACA eligible youth that have DACA right now, you are still protected and will be able to continue renewing for now. If you are eligible for DACA but have never applied, DHS can still accept your application but will NOT be able to process it. Advance Parole will remain open for DACA Recipients. If your application for renewal is already being processed: your renewal should continue as normal.
As for congressional action, the House, earlier this year, passed H.R. 6, the Dream and Promise Act and H.R. 1603, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act– bills that would create a path to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS holders, and farm workers. Republican senators have made no commitments to support these bills in the Senate and the bills have been blocked for two decades. If immigration reform legislation can be included in a reconciliation bill, a simple majority vote can finally deliver on legislation that a majority of the American people have said they support, a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS holders, farm workers, and essential workers in the American Families Plan budget reconciliation package.
The Case for Immigration in Budget Reconciliation
- Citizenship boosts economic growth, creates jobs and increases wages for Americans. Providing a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS holders, farm workers, and essential workers would boost GDP by a cumulative total of $1.5 trillion over 10 years, create over 400,000 new jobs, and increase wages for all American workers by $600. Undocumented immigrants would also contribute an added $149 billion of spending power each year if they were U.S. citizens. This added income could result in an additional $39 billion in combined federal, payroll, state, and local taxes each year. A reconciliation bill with a path to citizenship included will have large-scale economic benefits for all Americans.
- Voters across the political spectrum support creating a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. An overwhelming majority of Americans support providing a pathway to citizenship to undocumented immigrants over deporting them (79% to 21%). That includes base Republicans who prefer citizenship over deportation by a 61% to 39% margin. Another poll found that 70% of Americans support fixing our immigration system and 75% of voters agree that we need a humane, orderly process to provide asylum claims and a chance for a fair hearing when dealing with migrants at the border. In the same poll, voters want to see solutions and actions. 71% of voters agree that politicians have been talking about immigration reform for 30 years, nothing permanent has been done, and they want to see progress.
- A path to citizenship for workers should qualify for a budget bill because immigration has an important budgetary impact. In the short term, immigration reform has a budget impact of approximately $126 billion. While long-term economic impacts may not be considered in the analysis of whether a proposal is included in the package from a parliamentary perspective, immigration has long-term economic benefits for U.S. workers and the country as a whole and is critical for the country’s economic growth.
- The Senate has included immigration in reconciliation before. In 2005, the Republican-controlled Senate overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan reconciliation bill that increased the number of immigrant green cards. The budget reconciliation process has been used multiple times throughout history for major legislation including health care, benefits and tax legislation.
- Democrats can use reconciliation to pass urgent legislation such as protection for Dreamers and others. Despite the interest of the American people in commonsense immigration solutions, Republicans continue to obstruct efforts by Democrats in Congress to deliver citizenship for these individuals. Democrats must ensure that a pathway to citizenship is a part of the budget reconciliation in order to achieve a recovery that is truly equitable and inclusive for all regardless of immigration status.
*Taking points provided by United We Dream