Key Members of NY Congressional Delegation Back Using Budget Reconciliation for Pathway to Citizenship

New York, NY-Today, New York Representatives Yvette Clarke, Adriano Espaillat, Mondaire Jones, Grace Meng, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Nydia Velázquez called for the use of budget reconciliation to provide a road to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. Their calls echo the findings of a new Ipsos/NPR poll showing that more than two-thirds of Americans support legalization for Dreamers, TPS recipients, and essential workers. 

In January, the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) launched an aggressive campaign targeted at key members of the state’s Democratic congressional delegation, demanding an unequivocal commitment to achieving a pathway to citizenship. The NYIC’s work is part of a multi-organizational and national effort spearheaded by the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) to transform America’s immigration system.

“The majority of Americans across the political spectrum agree, it’s long past time for this country to deliver on its promise of a pathway to citizenship for DACA and TPS holders, as well as our essential workers who kept our country open and running in the past year,” said Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director, NYIC. “For months, we put forward a simple demand to New York’s Democratic congressional delegation: deliver immigration justice by any means necessary. With a 51-50 split in the Senate and an obstructionist and virulently anti-immigrant Republican Party, budget reconciliation is the best path forward to ensure the safety and security of our immigrant communities. We are proud to stand with Representatives Clarke, Espaillat, Jones, Meng, Ocasio-Cortez, and Velázquez, to call on President Biden, New York Senator and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, to finish the work we started in his home state and deliver a pathway to citizenship for the millions of hard-working families who held this country together during a global pandemic.”  

“As the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, I’ve seen first-hand the urgent need to address glaring inequities and civil rights violations present in our immigration system,” said Representative Yvette Clarke (NY-9). “As we work to reform our immigration system, we must always remember, and never take for granted the contributions immigrants, DREAMers, TPS, and DED recipients make to our economy, our community, and our culture. I join my colleagues in calling for budget reconciliation to provide a road to citizenship for New Yorkers. It is time our immigration system reflects a humane, modern, and equitable approach to immigration.”

“For far too long, more than 11 million immigrants, including hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, have waited in limbo and faced numerous obstacles along the path to legal status and citizenship,” said Representative Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “As the only formerly undocumented member of Congress, I know this journey well and understand fully that for many immigrants becoming a United States citizen is the realization of hard work, dedication, hope and dreams for a better life for themselves and for their families. It’s no secret that our nation’s immigration system is broken, but we remain committed and must never relinquish our work to bring about reform and solutions that the majority of Americans overwhelmingly support, creating a path to citizenship for hard-working immigrant families that continue to help our nation thrive. I believe we should use every tool in our legislative and parliamentary tool box to get this done while Democrats hold the majority in both chambers of Congress and have a president in the White House, and that includes the budget reconciliation process if necessary.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us just how essential undocumented workers are to New York and our country,” said Representative Mondaire Jones (NY-17). “They have been on the frontlines, keeping us safe, healthy, and fed during this public health crisis. It is past time we provide this community, and particularly our essential workers, who have sacrificed so much, a pathway to citizenship. We have an opportunity to do exactly that in the forthcoming budget reconciliation package, an opportunity we cannot allow to pass us by. I’ll continue advocating for my colleagues in Congress to include a pathway to citizenship for essential workers in the next reconciliation bill, and I’m so grateful for the New York Immigration Coalition’s leadership and partnership in this important fight.”

“I have long advocated for an overhaul of our nation’s broken immigration system and that includes providing a pathway to citizenship,” said Representative Grace Meng (NY-6). “We cannot afford to wait any longer and continue to keep DACA and TPS recipients hanging in limbo. These hard working individuals contribute greatly to our communities and our country. We should embrace them and do all we can to help them work towards the American dream. I stand with the New York Immigration Coalition and my House colleagues in supporting reconciliation as a way to secure a road to citizenship. The time to act is now.”

“Undocumented immigrants have kept this country running during COVID-19, and in order to ensure a robust recovery that is inclusive and equitable for all we must use every tool at our disposal to create a pathway to citizenship for essential workers, Dreamers, and TPS holders,” said Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14). “I’m proud to join the majority of our New York Congressional Delegation in supporting the advancement of stagnant immigration action.”

"As one of the members tasked with gathering support for immigration reform in the House, I am working hand-in-hand with our whip operation, and having conversations with Senators, to figure out the best way forward,” said Representative Nydia Velázquez (NY-7). “That being said, I fully support using the budget reconciliation process to provide meaningful reform for our immigrant communities. I believe that all options need to be on the table. In the House, we can pass a bill with our Democratic Majority but in the Senate it’s not that simple. By using budget reconciliation we can protect our immigrant communities and provide lasting relief. Its use should be seriously considered."


With the Democrats holding a slim 51-50 majority in the U.S. Senate, the parliamentary procedure known as budget reconciliation has emerged as an effective strategy to bypass Republican efforts to filibuster and obstruct President Biden’s agenda. Senate rules dictate that only a 60 vote majority can break a filibuster. However, budget reconciliation is a special process that allows a bill to come up for a vote and pass with a simple majority. Technically, budget reconciliation applies only to legislation that impacts federal spending and revenue. Researchers and experts believe that the large fiscal impacts of immigration reform would meet budget reconciliation requirements.