(STATEWIDE) – This weekend, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and Congresswoman Gwen Moore reaffirmed their strong support for a permanent pathway to citizenship millions of immigrant essential works and families through the budget reconciliation process in Congress. Their statements were welcomed by immigrant community members attending a series of forums this weekend hosted by Voces de la Frontera in Milwaukee, Green Bay and Madison (view videos on Facebook here), who are distressed after a recent federal court ruling that partially ends the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
DACA status protects immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportations and allows them to get a work permit. The decision bars any new applicants from applying, while allowing current DACA recipients to renew their status. Over 600,000 Dreamers are enrolled in the program nationally, with nearly 6,540 young people in Wisconsin currently in the program. An estimated 20,000 Dreamers are eligible to receive DACA status in Wisconsin.
Yareli Suarez, a Voces member, DACA recipient from Milwaukee and aspiring nurse currently a junior at Cardinal Stritch, attended and spoke at the Milwaukee forum. Suarez said, “DACA was never and will never be a permanent solution, it’s a temporary fix. This attack on DACA is going to continue unless we push for a pathway to citizenship that includes everyone. We need to push the Biden administration to do better and our Wisconsin representatives not vote towards a bill that does not include a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and other undocumented immigrants. We’ve dealt with these attacks before and we’ll do it again, this time even stronger.”
Earlier this month, Senate Democrats released Biden’s Jobs Budget Bill that includes funding for a permanent pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants. Polls show broad bipartisan support nationally for immigration reform – including from a majority of Republicans, Democrats and independents – and immigrant rights advocates are urging President Biden and Democrats in Congress to maintain immigration reform a priority and protect the funding that Democrats in the Senate have allocated for Dreamers, TPS recipients, farm workers and essential workers.
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin said in a statement read aloud at the forums, “Today, we are at a critical juncture and I believe we must seize the opportunity to get comprehensive immigration reform done, using whatever legislative path we can, including the budget reconciliation process. As the Senate works to advance a budget reconciliation proposal, I will continue to support advancing as much of comprehensive immigration reform through that – or any other – legislative process as we can.”
Congresswoman Gwen Moore also wrote in a statement addressed to forum attendees: “Under the Biden Administration we have a historic opportunity to deliver on immigration reform with a path to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS recipients, farm workers and essential workers through the reconciliation process. I have and will continue to push to include long overdue immigration reform in reconciliation and I am pleased by reports that Senate Democrats are working in good faith to do so on their side of Capitol Hill.”