Local Lawmakers, Community Leaders Across CA Praise Padilla’s Citizenship for Essential Workers Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) has received strong support from lawmakers and community leaders across California on the announcement of his first bill as United States Senator, the Citizenship for Essential Workers Act.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf: “It is time for our actions to align with our values. Undocumented essential workers have been at the frontline serving our communities, often risking their health + safety. TY @SenAlexPadilla for this legislation to protect these workers + provide a pathway to citizenship.”

San José Mayor Sam Liccardo:“Throughout this pandemic, there have been people that have put their lives, and the lives of their families, on the line to deliver our most essential services. They helped our communities keep medical care, food on our tables and services running. It is time we recognized their commitment to this country with a promise that their American Dream is within reach. I applaud Senator Padilla for his leadership on this legislation. Along with his fellow Senators and the members of the House, he has championed the needs of our neighbors as one of his first acts in the U.S. Senate. I look forward to continuing to work with him on issues critical to my city and our state.”

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg: “I wholeheartedly support the pathway to citizenship for undocumented essential workers proposed by Senator Padilla and his Congressional colleagues. The legislation addresses the public health and moral imperative to provide frontline workers a fair path to citizenship. It’s the least we can do as a grateful nation to those who, at risk to their own health and with the added fear of deportation, demonstrated their work ethic and courage this past year.”

Santa Ana Mayor Vicente Sarmiento:“Throughout this difficult and deadly pandemic, undocumented workers have risked their lives to help keep our economy moving, to put groceries on the shelves, to cook our meals, to manufacture and distribute goods, and so much more. I applaud Sen. Padilla for recognizing the contributions of these essential workers by providing them a well-earned path to citizenship. The Citizenship for Essential Workers Act will not only strengthen our country, but also is simply the right thing to do.”

Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) Board President Steven Veres: “LACCD enrolls more undocumented college students than the other two California public university systems combined, and possibly more than any other system for higher education nationwide. As a staunch advocate for the rights of undocumented and DACA students, the District fully supports the Citizenship For Essential Workers Act, the broadest standalone pathway to citizenship proposed by Congress for any single group of immigrant workers.”

Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) Chancellor Francisco C. Rodriguez, Ph.D.: “Our undocumented and DACA students are integral and valued members of our LACCD family, and many are serving the needs of the Los Angeles region as essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Undocumented essential workers have faced higher rates of exposure to the COVID-19 virus, and students in this role have been navigating the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had in communities of color while also balancing coursework. Providing undocumented essential workers with an accessible and secure path to citizenship is multi-benefit; a pathway to citizenship will aid in the economic recovery of the country while dramatically improving the outcomes for undocumented essential workers through rights guaranteed by legal status.” 

California Latino Legislative Caucus Chair Senator María Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles): “The Citizenship for Essential Workers Act is what America owes our undocumented essential workers who have risked and sacrificed so much over the last year. Three out of every four undocumented workers is an essential worker. These are the people who have done the jobs that cannot be done remotely and have kept our economy running. They and their families have paid a steep price for their work on the frontlines, and the lack of workplace protections and healthcare accessibility has been a major reason why the Latino community has been so adversely impacted by COVID-19. Clapping on our doorsteps is not enough. We need to show these workers that they are valued, and there is no better way than a pathway to citizenship.”

California Latino Legislative Caucus Vice-Chair Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister):”This pandemic has made clear how indispensable our undocumented workforce is to our economy. Over 5 million undocumented workers in the United States have jobs that are designated essential. As the Vice-Chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus and Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, I can attest to undocumented farmworkers being the reason why we have not experienced a food shortage during this pandemic. We are dependent on their backbreaking work for food, yet farmworkers have been excluded from basic human services like federal stimulus aid and food assistance to feed their own families. The Citizenship for Essential Workers Act will correct these injustices and honor their sacrifices by providing a pathway to citizenship for these essential workers. They’ve earned it, and it’s the least we can do for them as a nation.”


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