LOS ANGELES -- As the Judiciary Committee begins marking up the proposed reconciliation bill, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), the largest immigrant rights organization in California, reiterates its call: green cards for as many immigrants as possible, by any means available.
We have waited more than 35 years for immigration reform, and as the decades passed, we watched the forces of white supremacy try to rip away our rights, our dignity and our humanity. This ends now. This is the year we win a broad path to citizenship. We urge Democratic lawmakers to reject Republican poison pills and harmful amendments. They must stand with us, as we have stood with this nation.
In their letter to congressional leaders, the economists recognize immigrants' dedicated work and personal sacrifice during the pandemic. They say legalization "will help to ensure that the economic recovery reaches all corners of society, including those that have been disproportionately impacted by the effects of the pandemic, while establishing a more stable and equitable foundation on which future economic success can be built for all American families."
Immigrants enrich this country in many ways, but their economic contribution is particularly visible and, in fact, undeniable. According to the Department of Labor, granting legal status raises workers' wages by allowing them to get jobs that better match their skills in the short run and allowing them to pursue more preparation and education in the long run, increasing their contribution to the country. This truly is a tide that lifts all boats.
According to the economists, work permits immediately increase federal, state, and local tax revenues, as well as GDP. Citizenship compounds the benefits, strengthening the finances of Social Security and Medicare now, as the system copes with the aging Baby Boomer generation.
We know there are many ways to achieve permanent residency for immigrants this year through the reconciliation process, including updating the registry, which is existing law. A path to citizenship must be broad, not narrow.
Please attribute the following statements to Angelica Salas, CHIRLA executive director:
"We have made the case for broad permanent residency over and over, decade after decade. We have proved our loyalty, our worth and our commitment to this country. After 35 years of obstruction, the other side no longer has any credible excuses to keep legalization from us. This is the year; the time is now.
"After a harrowing, hateful administration, a deadly pandemic that won't quit, and a catastrophic year for climate, what remains is this: essential immigrant workers undergird our economy, nurse us back to health, and build back better after disasters.
"More than that, we revitalize this country. We reject an imposed mindset that requires us to “deserve” immigration reform. We are part of the United States. We live in these communities. We contribute to them not because we hope to become part of them, but because we already are. A broad path to citizenship merely acknowledges this truth. Let's get it done."