While establishing a roadmap to citizenship for 11 million people, this progressive vision signals a strong commitment to transforming the immigration system so it is humane, fair, equitable, and focused on respect, dignity, and family unity
WASHINGTON — Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Judy Chu (CA-27) and Yvette Clarke (NY-09) introduced the Roadmap to Freedom Resolution today. This north star for immigration reform was drafted alongside FIRM Action — the nation’s largest immigrant rights network — and is a progressive vision to transform the immigration system to one that is focused on dignity and rooted in the needs and lives of impacted people.
This immigration reform proposal develops and implements a Roadmap to Freedom by promoting citizenship, protecting and strengthening a fair process centered on family unity, promoting and preserving diversity and establishing a just, humane immigration system. Additionally, it ensures federal immigration agencies are fair and accountable, establishes a humane and effective border policy, recognizes the value of all work and promotes healthy communities. The resolution also promotes social, civil and economic integration while modernizing and strengthening humanitarian pathways to the United States. The resolution addresses root causes of migration as well.
“As a lifelong immigrant rights organizer who created the largest immigrant rights organization in Washington state before becoming one of only 14 naturalized citizens serving in Congress today, I know that we must do far more than simply reverse the harmful, xenophobic policies of the Trump Administration. Our immigration system has been broken for decades, and with a new president in office, we must finally reform it in a humane way that focuses on respect, dignity, family unity and real opportunity for all immigrants,” said Congresswoman Jayapal. “Now that we have a Democratic White House and a Democratic Senate, I’m proud to work alongside my colleagues in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus to introduce the Roadmap to Freedom as a north star for immigration reform that is fair, equitable, centers family unity and humanitarian protections, combats systemic injustices and works for everyone.”
Voters delivered a clear political and moral mandate this election for the incoming administration to act boldly and quickly on immigration and racial justice. Immigrants have endured a broken immigration system for decades, four painful years of xenophobic attacks, and the ongoing pandemic has further heightened the urgency to protect them. The Roadmap to Freedom Resolution is the north star for executive and legislative action on immigration.
“U.S. immigration policies are profoundly broken. I’ve watched too many families to count, ripped and torn apart in my very own neighborhood in Chicago. We must reckon with our nation’s darkest chapter of separating families and forcing immigrants into the shadows, and instead return to our roots as a country that embraces immigrants,” said Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García. “The Roadmap to Freedom lays out a clear vision for a more fair and humane immigration system. Every person—regardless of status, race, or country of origin—deserves compassion, and a chance to make a better life for themselves. Our resolution lays out the path to do exactly that and restore justice and dignity for all.”
“Communities like El Paso have been on the receiving end of inconceivable cruelty and inhumanity,” said Congresswoman Veronica Escobar. “As the Biden-Harris administration starts to rebuild and unite our nation, we have an obligation to work together to right the wrongs of the past and create solutions that reflect our shared commitment to dignity and justice.”
“Our immigration system is broken. Dreamers who have known no other home are at risk of deportation. Hundreds of migrant children are now permanently separated from their parents. Asylum seekers are being revictimized in refugee camps at the border,” said Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “The Roadmap to Freedom outlines a set of principles for creating an immigration system that is just, empathetic, effective and fair. ”
“It’s time for an immigration system that works for our country, one which rewards those who come and contribute instead of punishing them for trying. That is why I am proud to be an original cosponsor of Rep. Jayapal’s Roadmap to Freedom,” said Congresswoman Judy Chu. “One of the most important things we can do for our economy and the future of our country is to encourage more family immigration. Immigrants who come with family are far less likely to rely on government aid, have an easier time starting businesses, and contribute to the vibrancy of our communities. By ending family separation and improving the visa backlog – which disproportionately impacts AAPIs – we can also encourage more immigrants by no longer forcing them to choose between staying with their families or pursuing the American Dream. America has always depended on immigrants and we will continue to in the future. I’m glad to be supporting legislation that treats immigrants as an asset, not a political tool for stoking xenophobia.”
“Reversing the policies of the last four years is not enough,” said Congresswoman Yvette Clarke. “We must reimagine the immigration system in a manner that is humane, just and fair. The time has come for the values of our nation to be reflected in our immigration policies.”
The Roadmap to Freedom Resolution was first announced in December. The Members of Congress who are co-leading the resolution represent the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus as the Roadmap works to address the diverse needs of every community while reflecting the diversity of America’s immigrant community. This comprehensive proposal was also developed in close consultation with grassroots groups, immigration organizers, labor advocates, civil rights leaders and racial justice activists.
“FIRM Action worked for years to reimagine what immigration in our country should and shouldn’t be, especially after watching the callousness and disregard for human life of the Trump administration,” said Lawrence Benito, FIRM Action co-chair and executive director of ICIRR Action. “Congresswoman Jayapal has been a champion of immigrant families and progressive values since before taking office and we are honored to have worked with her on the Roadmap to Freedom Resolution. Immigrant families can’t wait any longer and solutions need to be rooted in our lived experience.”
“The power of immigrant voters helped shift the dynamics at every level of government, including in Washington, DC,” said Roxana Norouzi, executive director of OneAmerica. We’ve worked for decades to win protections for our families, so that we all have the opportunity to thrive. The Roadmap to Freedom Resolution lays the groundwork for the policies our families need to do just that. The Roadmap is a solution for our people, by our people.”
“The introduction of the Resolution takes us one step closer to our vision of an immigration system that respects immigrant families and embodies our best values as a country,” added Lorella Praeli, president of Community Change Action. “Beyond undoing the harm of the Trump era, the incoming Biden-Harris administration must take aggressive action to reverse the brutality of the enforcement system and work with Congress to pass legislation that creates a path to citizenship for the 11 million. The Resolution will remain our north star as we fight for our communities alongside our champions on the Hill.”
In addition to the co-leads, the Roadmap to Freedom resolution is also co-sponsored by Representatives Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Cori Bush (MO-01), André Carson (IN-07), Danny Davis (IL-07), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03), Alcee Hastings (FL-20), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Hank Johnson (GA-04), Mondaire Jones (NY-17), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Jim McGovern (MA-02), Grace Meng (NY-06), Eleanor Homes Norton (DC), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Adam Smith (WA-09), Mark Takano (CA-41), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Ritchie Torres (NY-15), Juan Vargas (CA-51), Nydia Velázquez (NY-07), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12).
The Roadmap is endorsed by more than 75 organizations. This includes American Family Voices, APACE C4, APACE Votes, Arkansas United, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, Asian Counseling and Referral Service, Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence, Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP), Bend the Arc Jewish Action, Border Network for Human Rights, Bridges Faith Initiative, Burien White Center Community Support Network, California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, CASA, Casa Latina, Central American Resource Center (CARECEN-LA), Church World Service, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), Common Defense, Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County, Inc., Community Acupuncture Project, Community Change Action, Detention Watch Network, Fair Immigration Reform Movement Action (FIRM Action), Families Belong Together, Hope Border Institute, Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Immigrant Defenders Law Center, Immigrants’ List Civic Action, Immigration Hub, Indivisible, Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice, Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, Laotian American National Alliance (LANA), Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, Make The Road Nevada, Make the Road New York, Make the Road NJ, Make the Road NJ, Make the Road PA, Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), National Domestic Workers Alliance, National Immigrant Justice Center, National Immigration Law Center, National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC), National Partnership for New Americans, National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, New York Immigration Coalition, OneAmerica, Our Revolution, Physicians for Reproductive Health, RAICES, Refugee Women’s Alliance, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, Strengthening Sanctuary Alliance, Sunrise Movement, TODEC Legal Center, UltraViolet, UndocuBlack Network, United We Dream, Wallingford Indivisible, Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs (WCSAP), Washington Defender Association, Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Wind of the Spirit Immigrant Resource Center, Women’s Refugee Commission, and Young Invincibles.
Ultimately, the Roadmap to Freedom re-establishes the United States as a beacon of hope and humanitarian protection for those seeking safety on our shores and achieves a vision of an immigration system that works for all by:
- Ensuring a fair immigration process that establishes a roadmap to citizenship for 11 million people while centering family unity and promoting and preserves diversity
- Welcoming immigrants by supporting integration efforts and ensuring access to critical public services
- Creating a just, humane way to uphold immigration laws, including by investing in humane, community-based alternatives to detention and creating scalable consequences for enforcement. This is possible by modernizing the system, ensuring judges have the ability to exercise discretion, and having reasonable, more humane options on the table
- Investing in border policy that protects the rights of communities in the borderlands and ends the mass militarization of the region
- Understanding that we must uphold the rights of all workers and that increasing protections for immigrant workers will lift up all workers—immigrant and American-born alike
The full Roadmap to Freedom Resolution is available here.