NPNA Praises U.S. Citizenship Act & Urges Swift Action by Congress
Bill Prioritizes Immigrant Integration Measures as Key Facet of Broader Reform
Washington – Today, Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (CA-38) and Senator Bob Menendez (NJ) introduced the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, the immigration reform bill that the Biden-Harris administration announced on its first day in office. The landmark U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 creates a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants, including for those with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protected Status and agricultural workers, strengthens family immigration, addresses root causes of migration, expands access to asylum and refuge, and bolsters due process protections in immigration court.
The bill also includes several provisions from the New Deal for New Americans Act (H.R. 4928; S. 3470), which puts forth a blueprint for comprehensive federal leadership on immigrant integration and inclusion. The National Partnership Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) worked closely with Rep. Grace Meng and Sen. Ed Markey on the New Deal for New Americans Act, and commends the Biden administration, Rep. Sanchez and Sen. Menendez for prioritizing immigrant integration as a key facet of broader immigration reform by including important provisions of the New Deal for New Americans Act in the U.S. Citizenship Act. These provisions include funding for local organizations that help to facilitate access to legalization for all eligible individuals regardless of their economic status and support for English-access and workforce development programs that help to remove barriers that prevent immigrants from fully participating in their communities and local economies. They also include provisions that facilitate naturalization for the elderly and U.S. high school graduates. The U.S. Citizenship Act would also further the Sense of Congress in the New Deal, that all people facing deportation should have the right to an attorney, at government expense if they can’t afford it, by requiring the Department of Homeland Security to appoint attorneys for children, vulnerable individuals, and the parents of U.S. minors who are in the immigration court.
“We applaud the U.S. Citizenship Act as a necessary step towards welcoming all immigrants, uniting our communities, and powering the economy,” said Nicole Melaku, the executive director of NPNA. “We need a road to citizenship for our neighbors and loved ones, without enforcement tradeoffs; equitable access to citizenship through immigration legal services; and a federal government that invests in immigrants instead of targeting them. We strongly urge Congress to pass this legislation without delay.”
“It’s time for Congress to pass common-sense solutions that welcome millions of immigrants who have been an integral part of our communities and country for decades,” said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights and NPNA Board Co-Chair. “A reliable road to citizenship and serious investment on immigrants and refugee integration, is a bipartisan issue the American people support.”