Immigrant NYers Double Down on Demand that Senate Majority Leader Schumer Deliver a Pathway to Citizenship

New York, NYToday, immigrant New Yorkers increased the pressure on Senate Majority Leader Schumer to deliver on citizenship in the federal budget reconciliation package. In front of Senator Schumer’s Manhattan office, immigrant advocates and community members urged the Majority Leader to ignore the faulty assessment offered by the parliamentarian and fulfil the promise that Democrats made to immigrant communities. Democrats in the House and Senate have agreed immigration belongs in budget reconciliation, and Americans across the country overwhelmingly support citizenship

Immigrants, Assemblymember Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas and allies demanded that Majority Leader Schumer lead his caucus to follow through on the promise to create a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants, including Dreamers, TPS holders and immigrant essential workers, who have kept this country running throughout the pandemic. The historic budget package would help create a pathway to citizenship to over 463,000 immigrant New Yorkers while boosting the U.S. economy. 

“Our elected officials need to remember that they are accountable to the people, not unelected bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. Earlier this week, we reminded Senator Schumer of that when we rallied outside of his Brooklyn home,” said Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition. “Today, we doubled down and brought the voices of immigrant New York to his Manhattan office. Our message could not be clearer; Senator Schumer, Congressional Democrats, and President Biden must listen to a majority of American voters, follow through on the promises made on the campaign trail, and finally deliver a pathway to citizenship for millions of our community members. We deserve it and will accept nothing less.”

"As essential workers, immigrant communities across the country have been at the frontlines of the COVID-19 fight. Here in New York, we continue to see the lasting impact of the pandemic on our undocumented members and those with temporary status, as they struggle with the financial, social, and economic aftershock of the pandemic," said Robert Agyemang, NY Director, African Communities Together. "A pathway to citizenship would not only provide necessary protections for huge parts of our community, but build a stronger United States as we recover from almost two years of job loss, overburdened hospitals, and social isolation. We call Senate Majority Leader Schumer, who expressed an overwhelming commitment to providing a pathway to citizenship for our communities, to use every tool at his disposal to get this over the finish line. We cannot lose this opportunity. The time is NOW."

“We at AALDEF know that DACA was never meant to be a long-term solution for undocumented youth,” said Annie J. Wang, Director of Immigrant Justice Project, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF). “Since 2012, AALDEF has provided pro bono legal representation to undocumented Asian American youth. In 2019 alongside a coalition of 42 civil rights organizations, we submitted an amicus brief focusing on the reliance interests of DACA recipients and the real-life adverse impact that dismantling DACA would have on immigrant youth. Regardless of what the Senate parliamentarian has said about the immigration proposals presented to her as part of the budget reconciliation process, Senator Chuck Schumer and members of his caucus need to show leadership and deliver a path to citizenship now for undocumented youth, TPS holders, essential workers, and the rest of the undocumented immigrant community. These people are a vital part of our country and deserve to be treated with dignity and compassion.”

“Our communities worked tirelessly to put Democrats in control of the Senate, House of Representatives, and White House," said Natalia Aristizabal, Director of Immigrant Justice at the Center for Popular Democracy. "We did so because Democrats promised to deliver on our priorities, including a pathway to citizenship. We expect Democrats to use every tool at their disposal to deliver on their promise of a pathway to citizenship now, through reconciliation. Democrats must not allow the misguided advice of an unelected parliamentarian to be the last word. We can’t wait."

"The last time our country opened a path to citizenship for the undocumented was over 30 years ago. Many in the Chinese community took this path, became contributing citizens and continue to be up to this very day. It's about time for our country to again open up that path for today's generation of immigrants," said Mae Lee, Executive Director of the Chinese Progressive Association.

“Today, in front of Senator Schumer’s office, our message is clear: Congress must include a path to citizenship in the budget reconciliation package," said Yaritza Mendez, Co-Director of Organizing at Make the Road New York. "Regardless of the parliamentarian opinion, Senator Schumer must fulfil promises made to immigrant communities. Democrats have the power in their hands to deliver citizenship to millions— they can and must deliver. This historic opportunity will change the lives of millions of people, who for decades have relentlessly fought for immigration relief.”  

"There's no true recovery without immigration relief," said Manuel Castro, Executive Director of New Immigrant Community Empowerment. "It's time to make immigration a priority and not just a bargaining chip. Immigration reform is paramount to the #BuildBackBetter agenda. Immigrant essential workers put their lives at risk to ensure that our society functions, yet we are only hearing excuses from Congress, instead of securing the legal status they desperately need."

“We call on Majority Leader Schumer to make good on his promise to provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants,” said Ann Toback, CEO of the Workers Circle. “We have marched, we have written, we have called, we have stood shoulder to shoulder with these men and women who are our neighbors, our friends, and valued members of our community. Millions of immigrants have been bravely laboring as essential workers to see our nation through this pandemic, at great risk to themselves. We should never forget the debt we owe to immigrant workers. They deserve the same right to freedom and citizenship in the United States as our own immigrant ancestors had in the last century. Senator Schumer, we are counting on you to make it happen now!”

“More than ever, the pandemic has demonstrated how essential immigrants are to this country. We are tired of broken promises and politicians using our communities as scapegoats.” said Nicole Rojas, Community Organizer at Mixteca Organization. “The Democrats cannot continue to turn their backs on a community that deserves more and at Mixteca, we will continue holding democrats accountable. As hard as they worked to get our votes while promising a pathway to citizenship is as hard as we want them to work to deliver! The time for immigration reform is now!” 

This event was part of nationwide actions targeting Majority Leader Schumer. Earlier this week, immigrant New Yorkers and allies held an evening vigil in front of Schumer’s Brooklyn home as they recounted the urgent need to pass long-awaited immigration relief. In addition, on Friday, CASA, FIRM Action, NAKASEC Action Fund, Center for Popular Democracy, and United We Dream will hold a simultaneous rally outside Senator Schumer's office at the Senate Hart Building in Washington D.C. 

The following organizations joined NYIC, MTRNY and, CPD outside of Majority Leader Schumer’s Manhattan office:

  • Adhikaar 
  • African Communities Together
  • Arab American Association of New York
  • Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)
  • Bend the Arc Jewish Action
  • Bend the Arc Riverdale 
  • Chinese Progressive Association
  • Faith in New York
  • MinKwon Center for Community Action
  • Mixteca Organization,
  • New Immigrant Community Empowerment 
  • The Workers Circle