Sánchez, Closers Pen Letter Urging Budget Committee to Invest in Pathway to Citizenship, Immigration Reform in Budget Resolution

July 13, 2021
Press Release
The Closers are a group of seven Congresswomen leading the charge in the House to finally deliver on robust immigration reform

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representatives Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA) and the Closers –Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07), Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), Judy Chu (CA-27), and Karen Bass (CA-37) – penned a letter to the Chairs of the House and Senate Committee on the Budget urging them to include investments to reform our immigration system as part of the budget resolution for fiscal year 2022. The letter comes as the Closers continue their push to pass long overdue immigration reform in the House of Representatives. 

“As you develop the budget resolution for fiscal year 2022, we urge you to include bold reforms to our immigration system so that it meets the needs of the American people now and prepares us for a vibrant and economically prosperous future.  While we continue to build broad support for the U.S. Citizenship Act, we stand ready to work with you to pass immigration reforms through the budget reconciliation process,” wrote The Closers.  

In January, President Biden asked Congresswoman Linda Sánchez to sponsor the U.S. Citizenship Act in the House of Representatives. She assembled a team of six Congresswomen who have dedicated their careers to reforming the United States immigration system to help her fight for permanent solutions. While they continue their push to pass the U.S. Citizenship Act, they are calling on the Chairmen of the House and Senate Budget Committees to use this opportunity to deliver critical reforms to an outdated immigration system, including a pathway to citizenship for millions living and working in this country.

The Closers continued: “The economic benefits of immigration reform are significant and well-established. Immigrants “boost the nation’s capacity for innovation, entrepreneurship, and technological change,” create about one-fourth of new businesses, and represent about one-fifth of the total labor force. In 2013, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that immigration reform would increase real Gross Domestic Product relative to current law projections by $700 billion in 2023 and $1.4 trillion in 2033.”

“Unfortunately, our immigration laws have not been updated in more than 30 years. This has kept families apart for decades, limited our ability to attract and retain top talent, and forced millions to live their lives in a perpetual state of uncertainty… Updating our immigration system and creating an earned path to citizenship is essential to speeding our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring a prosperous economic future for America,” the Closers concluded.

The U.S. Citizenship Act would provide millions of hardworking, undocumented immigrants with a pathway to earned citizenship, including Dreamers, Temporary Protective Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) recipients; prioritize family reunification and keeping families together; and bolster the country’s long-term economic growth. The bill would also equip the country to responsibly and effectively manage the border with smart and effective investments, address root causes of migration that force people to leave Central America, and restore the United States’ commitment to human rights. 

 

The text of the letter sent to Budget Committee Chairs is available HERE and below. 

 

Dear Chairman Sanders and Chairman Yarmuth,

We applaud your commitment to ensuring an equitable and robust economic recovery from the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic. As you develop the budget resolution for fiscal year 2022, we urge you to include bold reforms to our immigration system so that it meets the needs of the American people now and prepares us for a vibrant and economically prosperous future. While we continue to build broad support for the U.S. Citizenship Act, we stand ready to work with you to pass immigration reforms through the budget reconciliation process. 

The economic benefits of immigration reform are significant and well-established. Immigrants “boost the nation’s capacity for innovation, entrepreneurship, and technological change,” create about one-fourth of new businesses, and represent about one-fifth of the total labor force. In 2013, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that immigration reform would increase real Gross Domestic Product relative to current law projections by $700 billion in 2023 and $1.4 trillion in 2033.

Unfortunately, our immigration laws have not been updated in more than 30 years. This has kept families apart for decades, limited our ability to attract and retain top talent, and forced millions to live their lives in a perpetual state of uncertainty.  Approximately four million family-based immigrants and 1 million foreign workers and their family members are waiting in the immigrant visa backlog.  An estimated 1.6 million U.S. citizens are married to an undocumented immigrant and 4.4 million U.S. citizen children have at least one undocumented parent, with no opportunity for their loved ones to obtain the stability that comes with permanent resident status. Further, an estimated five million undocumented immigrants were essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Updating our immigration system and creating an earned path to citizenship is essential to speeding our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring a prosperous economic future for America.  Toward this end, we strongly support investments in our immigration system to:

  • Provide an opportunity for lawful permanent resident status (LPR) status and a path to citizenship for Dreamers and recipients of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED);
  • Provide an opportunity for LPR status and a path to citizenship for our nation’s farmworkers who kept food on our tables throughout the pandemic, and other essential workers;
  • Repeal the three- and ten-year unlawful presence bars to admissibility that have hindered family unification;
  • Expand opportunities for family-based immigrants to reunite with their sponsoring family members in the United States while they wait for an immigrant visa;
  • Update existing statutory provisions, such as registry (INA § 249), to provide long-term residents an opportunity to adjust to LPR status;
  • Ease the pressure on the immigrant visa backlogs by recapturing unused immigrant visas, modifying the per-country caps, and creating new exemptions from the numerical limitations on visas for certain priority immigrants, such as essential workers or STEM graduates; and
  • Invest in infrastructure and technology at ports of entry to improve border management and facilitate trade and travel.

Reforming our immigration system is long overdue, and we stand ready to use every legislative tool at our disposal to create an immigration system that reflects the needs of our country in the 21st century.

Sincerely,

###

Issues: