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Activists believe Biden’s immigration reform plan is on the right track

Activists and immigrant rights advocates welcomed the arrival of President Joe Biden’s immigration reform bill in Congress, which they see as a step in the right direction for the 11 million undocumented immigrants who have been living in the United States since years ago.

Clara Cortés, a Mexican migrant who arrived in the country more than 20 years ago, is one of those who has placed her hopes on this bill, which today began its difficult journey towards its goal of trying to support at least 10 Republican senators.

Cortés, a member of the organization Make the Way New York, has two daughters born in the United States and the fear that she will be separated from her family if she is deported has always accompanied her.

“This bill gives me hope for a better future,” said the woman this Thursday, a day in which the Democrats formally presented in Congress a comprehensive immigration reform bill that would benefit some 11 million undocumented, to those that would put citizenship on the road in eight years if they meet certain requirements

“For more than twenty years I have waited for Congress to pass legislation like this. Immigrants like me have built our lives and our families here. This is our home ”, affirms the Mexican.

DECADES OF WAIT

He referred to the amnesty granted under the presidency of Ronald Reagan in 1986 that benefited three million undocumented immigrants, but since then no other similar initiative has been approved.

Although President Barack Obama promised immigration reform during his first four-year term, it was not until his second term that there was a bipartisan proposal that was approved in the Senate but died in the attempt in the House of Representatives.

The bill reached the Senate led by veteran legislator Bob Menéndez, who under the Obama administration belonged to the Group of 8 that drafted the immigration reform bill in 2013 and by Congresswoman Linda Sánchez in the House of Representatives.

Groups that for years have advocated for immigrants, denouncing a “broken” immigration system and fought in court for four years against the Administration of President Donald Trump have called on legislators from both parties to join forces behind the bill.

For Ali Noorani, president of the National Immigration Forum, the contributions of immigrants “will be fundamental”, as they were during the COVID-19 crisis, as the country recovers from the pandemic.

In that sense, he urged both Democrats and Republicans to put politics aside and take “significant steps” toward solutions that offer certainty to the millions of Americans who depend on the “dreamers,” of the beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status ( TPS) and the undocumented.

For the Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), one of the groups that faced multiple legal battles against Trump’s policies, the Democratic proposal provides one of the broadest pathways to citizenship and legal residency in recent history.

And while it offers hope, “we know that we must fight to ensure that Congress passes legislation that does not mind the mistakes of the broken and racist criminal legal system, does not lead to more wasteful funding of technology at the border that would undermine everyone’s right to Privacy”.

“We can achieve true justice for immigrants without sacrificing civil liberties,” said Naureen Shah, ACLU policy advisor.

USA, THE HOME OF MILLIONS OF UNDOCUMENTED

The Coalition for the Human Rights of Immigrants (CHIRLA) recalled for its part that since the amnesty was granted in 1986, immigrants have continued to contribute to the country, most recently during the pandemic, and in return “they have only seen family separation, detention and deportations ”.

“Today, it is our hope and our work to change the reality of the millions who call the United States home,” said its director, Angélica Salas.

One of the groups that has suffered the most from the impact of the country’s current immigration system and Trump’s past policies are immigrant children, especially those separated from their families or who have come to this country alone in their attempt to find a better future. .

For the organization Children in Need of Help (KIND, for its acronym in English), this bill addresses the defense of unaccompanied minors at the border and other essential reforms to guarantee “a fair, humane, efficient and efficient immigration system. effective”.

He recalled that for the past four years, KIND has consistently denounced the numerous barriers erected by the former Administration to block immigrants, particularly unaccompanied children, from fair access to the protections afforded by the nation’s immigration system.

“The Biden Administration and Congress must work together to pass legislation that reflects these goals, and the introduction of today’s bill is a key first step to that end,” said Wendy Young, its president.

BIPARTIDIST AGREEMENT

The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) believes that providing a path to citizenship for immigrants and their families will make the US “more prosperous” and “enrich civic life” through diversity.

“This project marks a promising opportunity to successfully address one of the most important problems our nation has ever faced. The time is now. Congress must approve it, ”said the organization.