FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 8, 2022
Tom Salyers ([email protected]/ 202- 607-1074);
Claudia Hernandez ([email protected]/ (619-581-2963)
Washington, D.C. — Today, more than 70 national, state, and local children’s advocacy organizations sent letters urging the White House and Senate leadership to pass the Build Back Better Act with a clear pathway to citizenship, alongside other important investments in children and families. The groups are calling on President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Senator Schumer to take any action necessary to deliver relief for millions of immigrant children and families, including disregarding the parliamentarian’s opinion that eliminated a pathway to citizenship from the budget reconciliation bill.
Millions in mixed-status families live with longstanding fears of harmful immigration enforcement in addition to bearing the brunt of pandemic-related stresses, even as immigrants continue to play essential roles in our economic recovery.
“We’re calling on Congress and the Administration to put children first and pass the House-passed Build Back Better Act that includes a path to citizenship by using their authority to override the parliamentarian’s opinion,” said Wendy Cervantes, director of immigration and immigrant families at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP). “A path to citizenship is a long overdue promise that is critical to ensuring the long-term stability of millions of immigrant families and their children. It is imperative that our nation’s leaders deliver for families across the country and leave no family behind.”
A pathway to citizenship would be transformative for the millions of children whose wellbeing hangs in the balance, including over five million children in mixed-status families. An analysis by the Children Thrive Action Network found that passing a pathway to citizenship can help lift more than a quarter-of-a-million children out of poverty. Despite this pressing need for relief, children’s advocates remain frustrated with a lack of action from our nation’s leaders.
The two letters to congressional and White House leaders also stress the importance of other groundbreaking investments in Build Back Better that help strengthen families, such as expansions to the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit as well as increased access to child care and pre-K, nutrition assistance, health care, and paid leave.
“Build Back Better provides us with an opportunity to eradicate systemic barriers through policies and investments that prioritize the health and wellbeing of children and families, ultimately building a stronger foundation for future generations. We must not squander this moment,” said Gabriella Barbosa, Managing Director of Policy at The Children’s Partnership.
“We urge the Senate to override the Parliamentarian’s opinion and pass the Build Back Better Act that would lift more than 1,000 Utah children out of poverty,” said Ciriac Alvarez Valle, Senior Policy Analyst at Voices for Utah Children. “A pathway to citizenship would mark a huge difference for Utah kids from increasing economic stability to creating greater access to crucial programs and supports. The time to act is now!”
Our nation’s leaders have the power to transform the lives of millions of U.S. children. Congress and the Biden Administration must pursue every path possible to secure a pathway to citizenship that allows all children to thrive, regardless of where they or their loved ones were born.