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Jayapal, Padilla, Congressional Leaders, Advocates Call for Executive Action to Protect American Families

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.-07), along with U.S. Senators Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety, Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), and Representative Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.-44), joined advocates from, American Families United, UnidosUS, CASA, and others to call on President Biden to protect long-term undocumented immigrants in the United States.

The members and advocates urged the Biden Administration to take urgent action, reportedly under consideration, to provide protections and relief for long-term undocumented individuals, including people who have been in the United States for decades, contributing in countless ways to our communities. Specifically, they called on President Biden to expand Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and to streamline pathways to lawful status for undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens, family caregivers, and other long-term residents. Padilla, Durbin, Booker, Cortez Masto, Luján, and Markey previously provided their recommendations to the Administration for executive actions to streamline immigration relief for the undocumented population and DACA recipients in the United States.

“As the Biden Administration considers executive actions on immigration, we must not return to failed Trump-era policies aimed at banning asylum and moving us backwards,” said Senator Padilla. “I urge President Biden to embrace our values as a nation of immigrants and use this opportunity to instead provide relief for the long-term immigrants of this nation.”

“Our hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee made clear: Dreamers are American in every way but their paperwork. They contribute to our economy and are foundational to our communities. While Republicans peddle extremist anti-immigrant rhetoric and block bipartisan reform, we need solutions now. That’s why I’m urging President Biden to use his executive authority to provide relief for long-term undocumented immigrants and ensure that families can stay together and live free of fear of deportation,” said Senator Durbin.

“I’m proud to stand with advocates and my fellow legislators to reaffirm our commitment to protecting undocumented people, many of whom have been a part of our nation for decades,” said Senator Booker. “These Americans and their families remain ensnared in a dysfunctional system that offers them no path to lawful status. We call on President Biden to take decisive executive action now to provide relief to millions of people and safeguard American families at risk of being torn apart.”

“There are hundreds of thousands of Nevadans who live with at least one family member who is an undocumented, long-term resident of the U.S. The President must help protect these hardworking families through executive action so they don’t pay the price for Republicans’ political games,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “The time to act is now, and I’ll keep fighting to fix our immigration system and strengthen our border security—we have to do both.”

“There are thousands of immigrants who risked their life to travel to America for a better life. They’ve built lives here, and are now part of the fabric of this nation. They are deserving of a dignified path to citizenship. Both Democrats and Republicans know it’s time for us to fix our broken immigration system,” said Senator Luján. “I urge President Biden to continue working to solve our immigration challenges for our brothers and sisters who already call America home.”

“With millions of undocumented immigrants currently living in fear of separation from their families, we need a more streamlined process for undocumented immigrant spouses of U.S. citizens, family caregivers, and other long-term residents to move through administrative obstacles. I will continue to advocate on behalf of DACA recipients and immigrants across this country for an immigration system that prioritizes fairness, humanity, and hope,” said Senator Markey.

“President Biden should seize this critical moment by exercising his Executive Authority to rebuild our broken immigration system. We urge him to provide pathways to citizenship and protections for the millions of long-term undocumented residents who have contributed to the rich fabric of the United States,” said Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Nanette Barragán. “These are our uncles, aunts, parents, friends, and loved ones, who have raised their own families right here in our neighborhoods. They call America their permanent home, they deserve the chance to come out of the shadows.”

“I am proud to be an immigrant, one of just two dozen naturalized citizens to serve in the United States Congress. I know—and the vast majority of the American people know—that America is fueled by the creativity, inspiration and hard work of immigrant families. Harsh, enforcement-only policies that separate families have never worked and will not work. In the meantime, the Biden Administration’s greatest successes have been in using its legal authority to provide more legal pathways through the kinds of actions we are advocating for today. We can boost our economy, enrich our communities, and actually make life better for America families across this country,” said Representative Jayapal.

“Immigration relief would be a win-win for immigrant families and our nation. If given access to legal status and work permits, the long-residing undocumented would fill gaps in our workforce, increase productivity, and fuel economic growth,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO of UnidosUS. “Polls consistently show Americans support relief for the undocumented and it’s the #1 immigration priority of Latino voters. We urge President Biden to act to protect immigrants in American families and with deep roots in the U.S., and we’ll work tirelessly to ensure immigrants sign up for the protection, so they contribute even more to our society, tax base and the economy.”

“I know first hand what life in this country is as an undocumented immigrant. I also know the transformational impact of affirmative relief, and the significance of adjusting from temporary status to permanent residence. So I’m here today to urge President Biden in the strongest possible terms to provide affirmative relief via executive action. He could offer legal pathways that would allow as many of 3 million people, including Dreamers, daily caregivers, and other long-settled immigrants to continue working and contributing to their families and communities,” said Maria Praeli, Deputy Director of Government Relations & Coalitions,

“DACA has been a lifeline for me, but thousands of DACA recipients like me could also benefit from parole in place – allowing us to adjust our status without having to leave the only country we know as home,” said Foday Turay, a DACA recipient, Assistant District Attorney for Pennsylvania, and an American Families United member. “I want to say directly to President Biden: please grant affirmative relief to protect American families like mine. Parole in place would be a beacon of hope for my family — an answered prayer that would allow me to continue to work as an attorney, contributing to my community by doing what I love. Most importantly, it would provide long-overdue relief to my son and wife, who would no longer have to worry that daddy could be taken away.”

“Doing what we thought we needed to do to live our American Dream has become our nightmare. Our family was forced to separate. Our U.S. born children were forced to leave their country to be closer to their mother, and I’ve been living apart from my family for 2 years — our entire family’s mental health, my children’s opportunities, have all been deeply hurt by this separation,” said Gerardo Diaz, a U.S. citizen and an American Families United member who has had to live apart from his family for more than 2 years already. “Two years of not kissing my kids goodnight before they go to sleep and missing out on endless milestones in their young lives. President Biden, please listen to us: we know that you can use your authority to protect and reunite American families like mine. We’ve already seen you reunite families — and there are many more of us who need relief urgently, right now.”