Introduction of Citizenship for Essential Workers Act Recognizes A Pathway to Citizenship for Immigrants Is Crucial to our COVID-19 Recovery

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Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Senator Alex Padilla introduced the Citizenship for Essential Workers Act. The bill would provide an expedited pathway to citizenship for 5 million undocumented workers who have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rep. Joaquin Castro and Rep. Ted Lieu are leading the counterpart bill in the House.

Bruna Sollod, Communications Director of United We Dream Action, said:

“Nationwide, undocumented workers have led in ensuring our communities are kept fed, healthy, and safe during this unprecedented health crisis. Despite being excluded from federal COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts, including the recent American Rescue Plan, undocumented workers continue to put their lives on the line, risking infection and even death in order to provide for their families and their communities. 

Over the last year, all of us have feared for our health and that of our loved ones. For undocumented immigrants, we’d had to worry about getting sick while not knowing how we would pay for the costs without health care and other needed resources. I have felt that worry every day the last year as my own parents worked essential jobs as janitors. Denying millions of undocumented people who our society has deemed ‘essential’ from accessing health care, higher-wage jobs, and even COVID-19 vaccines simply because of their immigration status is not only immoral, it’s cruel. 

President Biden and Democrats must use every tool at their disposal to deliver a pathway to citizenship for immigrants, including moving citizenship for essential workers, immigrant youth, and TPS holders in a future reconciliation bill. As our nation continues to rely on the labor of undocumented communities, Congress and the White House have absolutely no justification to delay passing permanent protections that ensure everyone’s health and safety.”

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United We Dream Action is the leading national network fighting for dignity and justice led by immigrant youth and allies. We are a dynamic community of thousands of immigrant youth nationwide who build independent political power for those directly impacted by injustice. We organize and take action to win victories so that all people can be safe and thrive.