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In his joint address to Congress last week, President Joe Biden asked lawmakers for targeted legislation to guarantee a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, and immigrant essential workers. This is a long overdue step, and we applaud the Biden administration for taking it.

Now, we call on the administration to deliver on its pledge, and we call on Congress to take bold action by including a pathway to citizenship for essential workers, agricultural workers, and DACA and TPS recipients in the next recovery package.

There can be no long-term economic recovery without immigrants.

The administration has recently unveiled the American Families Plan and the American Jobs Plan as part of its campaign to “build back better” as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

There can be no long-term economic recovery without immigrants. Over 5 million undocumented essential workers have been serving in the front lines of the pandemic, including 202,500 DACA recipients and 131,300 TPS holders. Their work and sacrifice must be recognized.

Economic recovery, jobs, and infrastructure legislation should prioritize those who have stepped up during this national crisis. Immigrant workers should be able to continue to aid in our recovery without fear of being separated from their families.

If necessary, Congress should create a permanent legislative solution for undocumented immigrants through budget reconciliation. While most bills require 60 votes to pass through the Senate, bills passed under budget reconciliation require only a simple majority of 51 votes and can circumvent the filibuster.

This is a historic opportunity for citizenship for millions of undocumented people. Congress must seize the moment. Immigrant communities cannot wait any longer.

Maria Isabel (Marisa) Leon-Gomez

Marisa León-Gómez Sonet

Legislative Associate, Immigration & Refugee Program
Marisa León-Gómez Sonet served as FCNL’s Legislative Associate for the immigration and refugee program for 2020-2021.