March 19, 2021
On Thursday, March 18, the U.S. House of Representatives passed two major pieces of immigration legislation, the Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6) and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 1603). If signed into law, the bills would provide relief and a path to citizenship to more than 5 million people currently living in the United States on temporary statuses or as undocumented frontline workers.
UUSC’s President and CEO Mary Katherine Morn issued the following response:
“We celebrate the House’s action last night and honor the struggle of the thousands of immigrant organizers and frontline activists who made this moment possible. Farmworker organizers, undocumented immigrant youth, and immigrants with temporary status labored for years to draft, improve, and advance these bills. UUSC’s partners the UndocuBlack Network and the National TPS Alliance were central to shaping H.R. 6, ensuring the bill was inclusive of immigrants from countries facing humanitarian crises, many of whom are working overwhelmingly in frontline professions during the pandemic. This victory belongs to them.
“At the same time, we and our partners regret that the bill in its current form leaves out many immigrants who have had encounters with the criminal legal system. These criminalizing eligibility bars perpetuate the harms of a structurally racist policing and incarceration system, which we know disproportionately targets Black people—including Black immigrants. Activists and some members of Congress worked hard to remove these barriers, but sadly, they remain in the latest version. We join with our partners in urging Congress to remove this harmful language from the legislation before it advances any further.
“Finally, we call on the Senate and the White House to make it a priority to sign these bills into law. In getting this much-needed legislation across the finish line, senators should leave all available options on the table, whether this requires ending the filibuster or using a budget reconciliation process. Members of Congress and leaders in the administration must do what it takes to make these bills law. TPS holders, immigrant youth, and frontline workers have waited long enough. Let’s honor their sacrifice and the contribution immigrants make each day to fighting the pandemic and to building the life we share.”
About UUSC: Guided by the belief that all people have inherent worth and dignity, UUSC advances human rights globally by partnering with affected communities who are confronting injustice, mobilizing to challenge oppressive systems, and inspiring and sustaining spiritually grounded activism for justice. We invite you to join us in this journey toward realizing a better future!
Photo Credit: iStock – franckreporter