Harlem Rep. Espaillat And Others Release Statement On Immigration Reform In The Build Back Better Act

November 23, 2021

Today, Harlem Rep. Adriano Espaillat led a letter to reinstate a pathway to citizenship in the Build Back Better Act.

The full letter including a full list of Members is available here.

The other Representatives include Lou Correa (CA-46), Jesús “Chuy” García, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Grace Meng, and 85 additional members urging Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate President Pro Tempore Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin

“The Build Back Better Act makes historic investments in communities around the nation, providing immediate relief and support for individuals and working families,” said Congressman Adriano Espaillat. “We fought hard during negotiations to ensure that immigrant communities were not left behind and that undocumented individual who has contributed significantly to helping our nation recover would be included. Following last night’s House passage, we now urge our colleagues in the Senate to further this work by reinstating a pathway to citizenship for the millions of Dreamers, TPS holders, farmworkers, and essential workers who are counting on us to do the right thing. We understand that much work remains in our efforts to fix our broken immigration system, and if our nation is to fully recover from the challenges and disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, now is the time to provide comprehensive reform and ensure our immigrant communities are unequivocally included in our relief efforts.”

“The House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act — a historic piece of legislation. While the House bill secured protections and work authorization for undocumented individuals, the bill does not include a permanent pathway to citizenship. Our community has made it clear that this is not acceptable. Throughout these past few months, Bronx and Queens families, as well as our grassroots immigrant advocates, have been united and unfaltering in their message: Democrats promised a pathway to citizenship, and we must deliver one,” said Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “As this bill heads to the Senate, we must fight to ensure that we do not squander this once-in-a-generation opportunity. The Senate must establish a pathway to citizenship and finally provide Dreamers, TPS holders, farmworkers, and essential workers with the stability and equal recognition they deserve.”

“I am proud to lead with my colleagues in calling on Senate leadership to include a pathway to citizenship in the Build Back Better Act. While the immigration provisions in the bill the House passed go a long way to reducing the most severe harms that millions of undocumented immigrants face, we are not abandoning this fight. More than that, we are vigorously taking the argument to our colleagues that we can’t truly ‘Build Back Better’ if the people who will do so much of the building are left out of the blueprint,” said Congressman Lou Correa. “Undocumented immigrants have been the backbone of our country—from growing our crops, processing our food, taking care of our children, and looking after our elderly. Yet, they have seen their dreams of becoming citizens shattered again. Through our continued advocacy efforts, we are saying the time is now. The Senate must include a pathway to citizenship in the Build Back Better Act. Eight years ago, 68 Senators—including 14 Senate Republicans—voted for a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country. We don’t have another eight years, five years, two years, or even two months to wait. We are urging our colleagues to understand the positive impact a pathway to citizenship will have on the American economy, working families, and future generations of Americans. While the Build Back Better Act is a monumental achievement, as Cesar Chavez said, ‘We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about the progress and prosperity for our community.”

“Though this bill delivers urgently needed relief to undocumented immigrants, it falls short of the pathway to citizenship that I’ve been fighting for and that immigrants deserve. It means families separated for decades can finally be reunited, workers can speak out against abuses without fear of retaliation, and immigrants can wake up every morning with some peace of mind,” said Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García. “Still, immigrants who keep our country running deserve to call America home. Senate Democrats must find the courage to deliver permanent solutions and include a pathway to citizenship in the Build Back Better Act.”

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“Passing the Build Back Better Act was a historic and monumental achievement that stands to help so many working families in New York and across the country,” said Congresswoman Grace Meng. “But we cannot forget our ongoing fight for the millions of immigrants who are waiting for a pathway to citizenship, and I urge the Senate to reinstate this crucial provision as the chamber works on its version of the legislation. As I said last week, the fight to build back better cannot end with the House’s passage of the bill. We must ensure that no one is left behind as our nation works to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, and temporary status and time-limited immigration protections fail to help immigrants achieve their shot at the American Dream. We must get this done!”

Representative Espaillat is the first Dominican American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and his congressional district includes Harlem, East Harlem, West Harlem, Hamilton Heights, Washington Heights, Inwood, Marble Hill, and the northwest Bronx.

First elected to Congress in 2016, Representative Espaillat is serving his third term in Congress. Representative Espaillat currently serves as a member of the influential U.S. House Committee on Appropriations responsible for funding the federal government’s vital activities.

He is also a member of the House Committee on Education and Labor and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), where he serves in a leadership role as the Second Vice-Chair and is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, where he serves as Deputy Whip. Representative Espaillat also currently serves as a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus.

To find out more about Rep. Espaillat, visit online at https://espaillat.house.gov/.

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