June 07, 2021

Gillibrand: Time For Pathway To Citizenship For Essential Workers, Dreamers, TPS Recipients

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand released the following statement calling for lawmakers to consider all options to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers who were on the frontlines of the pandemic response:

“We must reimagine an immigration system that is both fair and transparent, and that upholds the dignity of immigrants and asylum seekers looking to build better lives. Undocumented immigrants were on the frontlines of New York’s response to the pandemic, and without their immense sacrifices, we would not be on the path to rebuilding. Therefore, it’s time we pave the pathway to citizenship for essential workers, Dreamers and TPS recipients.”

“Our window of opportunity to pass meaningful comprehensive immigration reform is rapidly diminishing. Congress must act before we lose this unique chance to create a new framework that addresses long-term deficiencies and restores humanity and personal dignity to the process. Whether such reforms occur through bipartisan legislation or through other legislative vehicles including the budget reconciliation process, failure to pass meaningful comprehensive legislation that includes a pathway to citizenship is not an option. I am committed to creating a fairer, more transparent and just immigration system that recognizes the dignity and promise of those who come here seeking a better life, and that will make our communities stronger.” 

Background:

  • Senator Gillibrand is an original cosponsor of both the U.S. Citizenship Act, a comprehensive immigration reform bill led by Senator Menendez and the Citizenship for Essential Workers Act led by Senator Padilla.
  • Earlier this month, Senator Gillibrand led 20 colleagues in two separate funding requests to appropriators to deliver necessary resources to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to ensure efficient and fair due process for unaccompanied minors and other vulnerable populations during immigration removal proceedings.
  • In March, Senator Gillibrand introduced the Funding Attorneys for Indigent Removal (FAIR) Proceedings Act, a bill that guarantees access to government-funded legal counsel during removal proceedings for children, individuals with disabilities, victims of abuse, torture, and violence, and those living at or below 200% of the federal poverty line. She also led Senate colleagues in a separate letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, urging the Department of Justice (DOJ) to review and address the needs of the Immigration Court system, including increased access to counsel.
  • Senator Gillibrand also recently introduced the Protection of Kids in Detention (PROKID) Act, which would provide a new, stronger layer of oversight to ensure and enforce transparency, protection, and accountability for all immigrant children in any kind of government custody.