FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 18, 2021
Contact: Sulma Guzmán, firstname.lastname@example.org
Centro de los Derechos del Migrante Applauds the Inclusion of Migrant Workers in President Biden’s Bold Immigration Bill
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND — Today, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and U.S. Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) introduced President Biden’s proposal — the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 — in the House of Representatives. The Act includes a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants who are members of our communities. It also creates an expedited pathway to citizenship for the farmworker community, TPS holders, DACA recipients, and those under Deferred Enforced Departure (DED). This transformative bill also ensures hundreds of thousands of migrant workers in the H-2 temporary visa programs in the food processing and agricultural industries and their families have expedited access to citizenship and stronger worker protections.
Centro de los Derechos del Migrante (CDM) celebrates the inclusion of a pathway to citizenship for migrant workers. Advocates and workers have been fighting for decades seeking strong worksite protections and an overhaul of a problematic immigration system that keeps families apart. We are enthusiastic and hope the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 is the beginning of many concrete federal and legislative actions towards ensuring migrant workers are treated with dignity and afforded long-overdue labor and employment protections.
The H-2A and H-2B temporary work visa programs are rife with abuse. Year after year, migrant workers must leave their families behind for months at a time to work in agriculture, seafood processing and other industries in the U.S. These are essential workers – working at the frontlines during the pandemic. Workers in these temporary work visa programs are tied to a single employer; therefore, they are more likely to remain in abusive conditions for the fear of deportation or retaliation. Through its powerful whistleblower protections and expanded access to humanitarian U and T Visas, the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 would shift the power imbalance between employers and H-2 migrant workers. Additionally, this bill would also ensure that the Migrant and Seasonal Worker Protection Act, the most important federal farmworker protective law, also applies to workers in the H-2A agricultural visa program.
The bill takes a bold step in recognizing the importance of family unity, the immigrant community, and the inherent vital role of migrant and immigrant workers. We stand firm in our commitment to fight alongside migrant worker communities to advance strong worker protections and a pathway to citizenship in a manner that advances racial justice, gender equity and creates access to protection and relief for all.
Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc. (CDM) envisions a world where migrant workers’ rights are respected, and laws and policies reflect their voices. Through education, outreach, and leadership development; intake, evaluation, and referral services; litigation support and direct representation; and policy advocacy; CDM empowers Mexico-based migrant workers to defend and protect their rights as they move between their home communities in Mexico and their workplaces in the United States. www.cdmigrante.org