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Gov. Pritzker, Sen. Durbin, Rep. García Point Way for Biden Administration to Extend Work Permits to Long-Term Undocumented Immigrants

CHICAGO – On April 10, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker sent a letter to President Biden and congressional leadership calling for expanded access to work permits. Specifically, he asked the Biden administration to “use [their] statutory authority to . . . create a pathway to legal status and work authorization for long-term undocumented immigrants — a community that has poured their hearts and souls into making a better life for themselves and their families in the United States and whose contributions to the American economy are irreplaceable.”

Today, The New York Times published an explosive article about the need for the Biden administration to take action to benefit long-term undocumented immigrants, featuring Illinois business, community and family leaders.

Said Rebecca Shi, an Illinois taxpayer and executive director of the American Business Immigration Coalition, “Thank you, Gov. Pritzker, for your leadership on immigration. We in Illinois are proud of the example you are setting, one that other states and, indeed the federal government, should follow. Illinois is a Welcoming State because we all want the same thing — the chance to work hard, contribute and take care of our families. President Biden must act with urgency and extend work permits to long-term immigrants like Dreamers, people married to U.S. citizens and others who have worked and helped build our communities for years.”

In his letter to Biden, Gov. Pritzker writes, “From new arrivals to decades-long residents, immigrants are valued members of communities across our country. . . When legal work authorizations are extended to long-term undocumented communities, formally recognizing their irreplaceable, positive impacts on the U.S. economy and American society, they will contribute even more to the nation they have embraced as home for years. . . We urge you to use the tools at your disposal, Mr. President, to expand TPS eligibility for new arrivals and formally cement long-term immigrants’ status within the U.S. workforce.” 

Tomorrow, Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL) is hosting a Capitol Hill briefing with Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) about the ways in which long-term undocumented immigrants contribute to our communities and the U.S. economy. Granting them access to work permits could only magnify those benefits. 

On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL) is hosting a press conference highlighting the need for long-term U.S. residents who are undocumented to have the same right to apply for work permits as people who have more recently arrived. 

“This is a trifecta of Illinois leadership on immigration urging the Biden administration to do what is economically important, morally right and politically smart,” said Shi.


American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC) is a bipartisan coalition of over 1,400 CEOs, business owners, and trade associations across 17 mostly red and purple states. ABIC promotes common sense immigration reform that advances economic competitiveness, provides companies with both the high-skilled and low-skilled talent they need, and allows the integration of immigrants into our economy as consumers, workers, entrepreneurs and citizens.