Last Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a Build Back Better package that includes important economic and environmental justice priorities but falls short for immigrant communities. The legislation centers on temporary protections for those who qualify. Our communities deserve a path to citizenship. The Senate can and should fix that by including citizenship in their bill.
I have a lot at stake in this conversation.
I have lived in the U.S. since 2008. This is where I, along with my wife and children, have put down our roots. My home is in Corona, Queens, which was at the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. It was really difficult taking care of my family during COVID because my wife and I were excluded from all forms of help, including assistance for the small transportation business I run, because of our lack of papers.
Parole, the temporary protection included in the House bill, is only a partial relief. After all of our sacrifices and our contributions to the economy of this country, we deserve more. With parole, the clock would be ticking down to September 2031, at which point I, and millions of others like me, would go back to the same fear of being sent out of the country and separated from my family. How am I supposed to build a business or plan for my kids’ future with that uncertainty?
Congress has the power to change this for millions of people. We will continue fighting to make the U.S. a better place. Please show us the same respect and lift the cloud hanging over our heads.
On Tuesday, ninety one members of Congress, including leadership from New York’s own Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Adriano Espaillat, and Grace Meng, sent a letter to Senate leadership to ensure that a pathway to citizenship is included in the Senate version of Build Back Better Act.
All eyes are now on Senate Majority Leader Schumer, who must lead the Senate Democratic caucus and make things right. Senate Democrats and Vice President Harris can and must disregard the parliamentarian’s advisory opinion and move forward with delivering on their promise for a pathway to citizenship.
To truly build back better, temporary solutions will not suffice; undocumented immigrants deserve citizenship.
¡Sí se puede!
— Gerardo Vital, Make the Road NY Board member