Home Abigail Spanberger Rep. Spanberger Urges U.S. Senate to Provide Permanent Protections, Pathway to Citizenship...

Rep. Spanberger Urges U.S. Senate to Provide Permanent Protections, Pathway to Citizenship for Dreamers

4402
3

From Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA07)’s office:

Spanberger Urges U.S. Senate to Provide Permanent Protections, Pathway to Citizenship for Dreamers

Congresswoman: “Further Delay in Congressional Action Means Continued Uncertainty for Millions of Talented and Hardworking People Who Are American in Every Way Except on Paper”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger urged U.S. Senate leadership to provide permanent protections and a pathway to citizenship for the highest possible number of Dreamers, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries.

Created in 2012, DACA has provided protection from deportation and employment authorization to more than 825,000 young people — including more than 8,600 Virginians. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), DACA recipients came to the United States at six years old on average. Similarly, TPS has provided long-term protection to hundreds of thousands of individuals from deportation to countries experiencing armed conflict, natural disasters, or other circumstances that make the return of those nationals dangerous.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Spanberger urged leadership to pass — either through a standalone effort or the end-of-year government funding bill — permanent legal status and a path to citizenship for Dreamers, young people protected by DACA, and those currently in the United States with a TPS designation. Additionally, Spanberger underscored the many ways that these populations of immigrants contribute to communities in Virginia and across the country, as well as the U.S. economy overall.

“Further delay in Congressional action means continued uncertainty for millions of talented and hardworking people who are American in every way except on paper. For more than two decades, Congress has failed to reform our country’s immigration system and made our county unable to take full advantage of the enormous benefits Dreamers and their families bring to our communities, the economy, and the country at large,” wrote Spanberger. “DACA recipients’ significant contributions to economic activity are reflected in the more than $5.6 billion in federal taxes and $3.1 billion in state and local taxes they paid in 2020.”

Spanberger continued, “Congress should not allow this uncertain situation to continue, and I’m encouraged there is bipartisan interest in finding a path forward. Providing Dreamers and TPS recipients with permanent legal status and a path to citizenship will uphold American values and preserve their contribution to our communities and economy.”

“I am the mother of two young aspiring Americans who are DACA beneficiaries. This status gave them the opportunity to work and contribute to the economy of the Commonwealth and this country,” said Lenka Mendoza, Founder, Dreamer Mothers in Action & Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights Board Member. “However, as the past administration demonstrated, it is not a permanent solution, my family lives under the uncertainty that they could lose their status at any time. We need a permanent solution that will allow our children to reach their full potential in this country that for many is the only home that they have ever known.”

Click here to read the letter, and the full letter text is below.

Dear Majority Leader Schumer and Minority Leader McConnell,

I urge you to bring legislation to the floor that provides permanent protections and a pathway to citizenship for the highest possible number of Dreamers, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries, consistent with the House-passed DREAM and Promise Act. I am encouraged that in recent weeks there have been bipartisan negotiations related to Dreamers, DACA, and TPS and I hope that through a standalone effort or our end-of-the-year spending bill we take action. Further delay in Congressional action means continued uncertainty for millions of talented and hardworking people who are American in every way except on paper.

For more than two decades, Congress has failed to reform our country’s immigration system and made our county unable to take full advantage of the enormous benefits Dreamers and their families bring to our communities, the economy, and the country at large. Instead, millions of young people who know no other country and their families have had to rely on temporary programs while they wait on Congress to finally pass a permanent solution.

Started in 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has provided protection from deportation and employment authorization to more than 825,000 young people, including more than 8,600 Virginians. On average, DACA citizens came to the U.S. in 2001 when they were just six years old – meaning that for them, this is the only country they have ever known. More than a third came before they were five years old. The DACA program has increased recipients’ sense of belonging to the community, strengthened their hope for the future, and drawn them into our country’s civic life.

In the ten years since DACA began, recipients have grown up and built lives for themselves here in the U.S. They have gotten married and had U.S. citizen children – over 250,000 children have a DACA recipient as a parent. DACA recipients have started careers in management, education, sales, and food preparation – many more have started their own businesses. About 30,000 DACA recipients are healthcare workers and have played an essential role on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic and in mitigating care shortages. DACA recipients’ significant contributions to economic activity are reflected in the more than $5.6 billion in federal taxes and $3.1 billion in state and local taxes they paid in 2020.

Similarly to DACA, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) has provided long-term protection to hundreds of thousands of individuals from deportation to countries experiencing armed conflict, natural disasters, or other circumstances that make the return of those nationals dangerous. Like Dreamers and DACA recipients, TPS recipients are long-standing members of our communities and key employees of construction contractors, restaurants, and landscaping companies. According to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, TPS workers contribute $4.5 billion to our gross domestic product every year.

DACA’s and TPS’s protections are not permanent, meaning beneficiaries live in a state of limbo. They are never sure if their work authorizations and humanitarian protections will be renewed or if a higher court will force the programs to end. While the courts have stayed recent decisions ending DACA, they have prevented more than one million individuals who would likely be eligible to participate in the program from applying.

Congress should not allow this uncertain situation to continue, and I’m encouraged there is bipartisan interest in finding a path forward. Providing Dreamers and TPS recipients with permanent legal status and a path to citizenship will uphold American values and preserve their contribution to our communities and economy. As such, I urge you to make passing such a bill a priority before the 117th Congress ends.

********************************************************


Sign up for the Blue Virginia weekly newsletter

Previous articleVideo: Del. Lamont Bagby, Del. Delores McQuinn, Mayor Levar Stoney, etc. Speak in Support of VA04 Dem Candidacy of Sen. Jennifer McClellan
Next articleVA-04 Democratic Committee Announces Qualified Candidates for December 20, 2022 Firehouse Primary