Padilla, Castro, Warren, Lieu: Citizenship for Essential Workers is Infrastructure

“The Citizenship for Essential Workers Act directly relates to the priority of rebuilding America’s economic infrastructure and aligns entirely with the administration’s priority on defeating COVID-19.”


WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.),Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety Subcommittee led a bicameral letter to President Biden with Congressman Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Congressman Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) urging the inclusion of theCitizenship for Essential Workers Act in the president’s upcoming infrastructure package. This legislation provides a fair, secure, and accessible pathway to U.S. citizenship for over 5 million immigrant essential workers in health care, agriculture, construction, food, energy, emergency response, care-giving, and other essential critical infrastructure sectors. Yesterday, Padilla joined President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and a group of bipartisan lawmakers to discuss the administration’s infrastructure plan. In February, Padilla introduced the Citizenship for Essential Workers Act as his first bill as a United States Senator. 

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, more than five million essential workers without permanent legal status have been critical to keeping our country running and saving American lives,” said Senator Padilla. “COVID relief means not only addressing the health impacts of this pandemic, but also rebuilding our economy. Providing a pathway to citizenship that these essential workers have earned, through their service and sacrifice, will help boost our economic recovery and will benefit communities across the country. It is vital that the next infrastructure package include a pathway to citizenship for essential workers in order to build back better and more equitably.”

“Essential workers are American heroesand they have earned American citizenship,” said Congressman Castro. “For over a year, we’ve all seen that America’s critical infrastructure would collapse without millions of hardworking immigrants. In fact, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security deemed essential workers as part of our nation’s critical infrastructure. Citizenship for essential workers should be part of President Biden’s legislative initiative on jobs and infrastructure. As we seek to build back better, it is crucial that our economy and society be rebuilt on a fairer foundation that fully includes immigrant essential workers.” 


“Essential workers risk their lives every day to keep our country running — but about 5 million of those workers live in fear of deportation,” said Senator Warren. “The Citizenship for Essential Workers Act would correct this injustice by providing a fair pathway to citizenship for essential workers and it should be included in the infrastructure package or the Americans Families Plan.”“I join my colleagues to urge President Biden to include a pathway to citizenship for undocumented essential workers in the next infrastructure package,” said Congressman Lieu. “There is no equitable way out of this pandemic without a pathway to citizenship for immigrant essential workers. Over 5 million immigrant workers in our communities are on the frontlines keeping us healthy and fed during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s time we do right by them and provide a pathway to citizenship.”

In addition to the House and Senate sponsors of the Citizenship for Essential Workers Act, signatories of the letter include: Senators Cory Booker and Richard Blumenthal and Representatives Raul Ruiz, Pramila Jayapal, Ruben Gallego, Juan Vargas, Barbara Lee, James P. McGovern, Adriano Espaillat, Grace Napolitano, Raúl Grijalva, Tony Cárdenas, Nikema Williams, Diana DeGette, Ro Khanna, Sara Jacobs, Teresa Leger Fernández, and Darren Soto. 

Full letter text is available here

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