WASHINGTON, DC – People from across the country who would be directly impacted by the immigration relief proposal in the Build Back Better Act voiced support for the legislation being advanced currently in the House. President Biden, Speaker Pelosi, and House Democrats have committed to voting on Build Back Better in the House this week.
It is important to explicitly state that the legislation being considered is short of the pathway to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants that is needed, and that the entire immigrants’ rights movement is continuing to work to achieve. At the same time, this legislation would represent the most significant immigration measure passed by Congress in decades. For years directly impacted people have stood with strength and courage to demand protections for their families and communities. Now, the onus is on Congress to take meaningful action to secure these protections and deliver results from this bill to communities across the country.
In addition to providing long term protection from deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants, the plan would allow people who have lived on average in the U.S for at least 20 years to access long term work permits to support their families, more fully participate in their communities, access life-saving health care, and gain the ability to travel abroad to reunite with family they have been separated from, often for decades.
Below please find quotes from people who would be directly impacted by the immigration relief in the Build Back Better Act:
“When my two sons Alonzo and Omar were 1 and 2 years old I came to the U.S. to prosper and help my family. 19 Christmases have already passed since I’ve seen them. Throughout the year everyone is able to have fruits and vegetables because we, like everyone else in the world, work very hard at our profession to ensure that there is enough produce every year. We are professionals in the fields because if you don’t dedicate your heart and love the fruit doesn’t grow. If we win permits and protection from deportation it would be very important to me and thousands of undocumented essential workers like myself because we would have the right to continue to support the community, work hard and be able to see our families. Not having the fear of being deported would encourage us to move forward without fear,” – Gabriel, a UFW Foundation member and farmworker leader in California who has spent nearly 20 years in agriculture
“My mother, father, sister and brother all died in Mexico before I could hug them goodbye. I live in a mixed status family and have US-born children and children with DACA so immigration relief would be like a 180-degree change in our lives. Immigration relief would give us the freedom to dream big. Dream of one day visiting my family’s gravesite. Dream of taking a family vacation without the fear of getting separated. Dream of speaking out against injustices and unfair treatment at my place of work without the fear of retaliation.” – Alejandra Cruz, SEIU member, essential worker and housekeeper at a nursing home in Illinois
“I’ve been in the U.S. since the age of one and have now lived here nearly 40 years. I’m still not a citizen and have never been protected by the DACA program. Due to our outdated immigration laws, there’s been no pathway to citizenship for me and others in my situation. It has always been my DREAM to see the passage of legislation that gives all undocumented immigrants residing in the U.S. for so long a chance at a pathway to citizenship. Undocumented people deserve more than temporary programs. After many years of disappointment, a form of immigration relief is included as part of the Build Back Better plan and Congress has an immense opportunity. While this is not the pathway to citizenship that our undocumented community deserves, it is a step in the right direction. It has been over three decades since we last saw significant immigration reform. One day, I aspire to be a federal judge, and this relief will help me to accomplish a life-long goal.” – Jong-Min, Dreamer without DACA protections and aspiring law student in Brooklyn, New York
“As a DACA recipient I know firsthand how impactful a long term protection from deportation, work permits, and ability to travel to visit family would be millions of people in the undocumented our community. Everyone deserves stability, certainty, and the opportunity to provide for their families, and while this is less than the pathway to citizenship we ultimately need, these protections would be an important step forward. President Biden, Speaker Pelosi, and House Democrats have committed to voting on Build Back Better in the House the week of November 15th, and they must use their power to finally pass this long awaited immigration relief.” – Carlo Barrera Prado, Business Development Coordinator at REVOLVE, DACA recipient in New York
“With DACA, my entire life changed once I was admitted into the program in 2013. Even though the pathway to citizenship that all undocumented immigrants deserve is not a part of this legislation, Congressional lawmakers can and must deliver monumental immigration relief through the Build Back Better bill and provide needed protections such as long-term work permits and protection from deportation. I strongly urge every member of Congress to vote in favor of this legislation, and for the Senate to swiftly follow the House’s leadership and send this bill to the President’s desk for his signature,” – Eroisha Crasto, DACA recipient in New Jersey
“I have harvested Blueberries, strawberries, green beans, and apples for 12 years in New York’s Hudson Valley. My kids, Guadalupe 11, Emily, 10, Jesus 8, and Melissa 1, are U.S. Citizens and I have worked so hard to give them a good life. In this area, we live in constant fear of ICE. I often grocery shop at night, because I am scared of being pulled over and taken away from my kids. While I am at work in the fields, I am worried that my kids will be left at school alone if I get taken by ICE. Being here, I have made so many sacrifices working in the fields and living thousands of miles from my family in Mexico. I haven’t seen my mom in over a decade. Nothing in the world would make me happier than having a work permit and being able to visit my mom and give her a hug,” – Guadalupe Trujillo, a New York farmworker
“I’m ready to give back to this country, but that can only happen when we deliver on protections for people like me. This plan must include the opportunity we have been waiting for, to finally let go of the uncertainty of deportation. I want to be able to apply to the job I want with the degree I earned. I want to travel back to Honduras to see the family members I haven’t seen for 16 years,” – Julio Calderon, a Dreamer in Miami, Florida who never qualified for protections under the DACA program because he arrived in the U.S. just 30 days after his 16th birthday and has a final order of removal
“DACA provided me with work authorization and protection from deportation, allowing me to pursue my dreams as an MD and PhD student at Loyola University of Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. My career put me on the front lines of the pandemic, and I want nothing more than to continue to help keep my community safe and healthy, but I cannot do that without legislation that gives me permanent protection and the ability to work. It’s up to Democrats to use their majority and the White House to follow through on their commitments to deliver immigration relief via the Build Back Better bill. This legislation does not offer a pathway to citizenship that our community needs, but it is an important step forward to protect the immigrants who work and contribute to this country.” – Cesar Hernandez, Dreamer, Medical Student at Loyola University of Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, New Mexico
“My mother passed away in Mexico and my father lives in Mexico. He’s now very old. If this legislation passes, I could visit and take care of my father. I have 5 children and I’ve worked in agriculture for 6 years, mainly harvesting peanuts and cotton. All the time there is uncertainty. Protection against deportation is one more protection for my children,” – Misael, a farmworker who has lived in Hobbs, New Mexico for 20 years
“I would like Congress to know that there are many undocumented agricultural workers waking up at 5:00am so that they can have a glass of milk. I have worked in the New York dairy industry for the past 11 years. In these moments, an immigration permit would provide me with great relief. We live in the fear of coming across ICE or being pulled over by the police. I want to be able to go to Mexico to visit my mother who has Alzheimer and is in her final stages of life. I would also love to be able to meet my grandson for the first time,” – Roselia Hernandez, a New York farmworker
“I have dedicated my life affirming work to enacting change through my research and advocacy. I am inspired by more than just a passion to better the conditions for our communities, as my life as a DACA recipient and daughter of two undocumented parents has shown me first-hand how our broken immigration system continues to fail our communities. This is why Congress must vote in favor of the Build Back Better bill, to win transformative benefits like work permits, travel authorization, and driver’s licenses for ⅔ of those who are currently undocumented and bring us closer to achieving a pathway to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented people – all of whom have lived, worked, and contributed to the US like my family has for 25 years.” – Dr. Laura Minero, DACA Recipient and Post-Doctoral Fellow at UCLA, Los Angeles, California
“I am a mother, I have been a homecare worker for more than 10 years. Homecare workers like me make sure that our country’s seniors and people with disabilities can live with dignity in their home, but for too long, our work has not been valued or supported. Many homecare workers like me who are undocumented are afraid to speak up about the low wages or poor working conditions we experience because we are afraid that we will be deported and separated from our families. On behalf of millions of care workers and immigrant mothers like me, I am urging Congress to pass the Build Back Better bill with a real investment in caregivers and protections for immigrants so that I don’t have to worry about being separated from my young children and so that the essential care work I do is valued and paid fairly no matter my immigration status.” – Lydia Nakiberu, Home Care Council member of the National Domestic Workers Alliance in Boston