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Leaders praise Biden’s action keeping Pennsylvania families together and urge him to continue supporting mixed-status families

Speaker McClinton: “All of our communities benefit when families can stay together”

HARRISBURG, Penn. — Today, Speaker of the House Joanna McClinton (D-Philadelphia), House Majority Leader Matthew Bradford (D-Montgomery County), State Rep. Danilo Burgos (D-Philadelphia) and State Rep. Napoleon Nelson (D-Montgomery County) celebrated the Biden-Harris administration’s historic action granting work permits to spouses of U.S. citizens and improving Dreamers’ ability to secure a more stable legal status, and highlighted the significant impact that Dreamers and mixed-status families have on the economy.

In Pennsylvania, Dreamers paid $80.4 million in taxes and wielded $243.9 million in spending power. In addition, undocumented residents earn $290 billion in household income and contribute over $21.5 and $13.6 billion in state and local taxes with a combined spending power of $254.8 billion

At the event, impacted families, advocates and business leaders praised the Biden-Harris administration for keeping American families together, with speakers showcasing how this action is good policy, good politics, and good for the economy.

Here’s what the speakers had to say about this historic decision:

Speaker of the House Joanna McClinton (D-Philadelphia): “[The Biden-Harris administration] made these decisions to strengthen our economy, and to strengthen our communities by keeping more families together. […] Being able to provide a pathway to lawful permanent residency for almost 500,000 spouses… so they can lawfully contribute to our workforce and our economy is common sense. […] Thanks to this executive order from President Biden and Vice President Harris, we have this common sense solution and compassion for every single family. In Pennsylvania we need solutions, not excuses — so I welcome President Biden’s leadership on this issue and his thoughtfulness in this matter.”

State Rep. Danilo Burgos (D-Philadelphia), Chair, Pennsylvania Legislative Latino Caucus: “Today, I stand before you to commend President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, their administration for bold, compassionate action on immigration. This is a significant step forward, but more remains to be done. Let’s keep fighting.”

State Rep. Napoleon Nelson (D-Montgomery County), Chair, Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus: “This [action] is essential. We’re talking about jobs and economic productivity, we can talk about the increasing tax revenues that would come to Commonwealth and come to the nation through expanded work visas. This is a very important step and more must continue to come. This is a celebration at the beginning of the next generation of immigrant stories, the next generation of immigration policy, the expansion of the continued definition of what it is to be American.”

Enddy Almonord, Organizer, American Business Immigration Coalition: “Those who will benefit will now be able to continue contributing to our communities and our economy — and do so without fear of deportation, exploitation and family separation. We thank the president for taking this crucial action to protect our families. Long-term immigrants across this nation are contributing to our communities and economy every day — we need more common sense solutions like the President’s actions that build our economy and keep families together.”

Patty Torres, Make the Road Pennsylvania“Pennsylvania is home to more than 173,000 undocumented immigrants who are employed primarily in waste management, food services, construction, manufacturing and health service industries. We can’t forget that they face challenges and fight against injustices daily. Parole-in-Place is a step in the right direction, and can and should be expanded even further. This is the only way to ensure that our immigrant mixed-status families are protected and not sources of unnecessary family separation.”

Yehyun Song, Dreamer who attends Haverford College: ”Last fall, my family was separated. My parents returned back to Korea, leaving me and my younger brother here in the States. Our family came to the United States legally through a student visa when I was five-years-old. When my father received God’s calling to serve a small church, we listened and requested a worker’s visa. It was rejected twice. We became undocumented…[President Biden], I urge you to use your constitutional power, your platform, and this momentum to bring our families back together and pave a beautiful path toward citizenship.”

Armando Fernandez, a DACA recipient and community organizer: “This is a win for immigrants — regardless if you are Latino, Black, Brown, Asian. I’m glad that President Biden was able to see that this is something that he could do and that he did it — I want to recognize and say thank you for that, but it’s not enough. We need everybody to be together in this fight for everybody.”

The U.S. is home to 10.6 million U.S. citizens who live in mixed-status households, with hundreds of thousands of impacted U.S. citizens in places like Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas and Georgia. Expanding work permits for long-term contributors is overwhelmingly popular among Americans generally, with long-term undocumented immigrants having lived on average for 15 years in our country working, paying taxes and raising American children. 

Prior to President Biden’s announcement, 19 U.S. Senators; 80+ members of Congress; 300+ employers, CEOs and associations have also endorsed work permits for long-term immigrants, along with labor organizations like SEIU, UNITE HERE and the Culinary Union, the Teamsters and United Auto Workers (UAW). NYC Mayor Eric Adams and Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson recently led a bipartisan letter of over 40 mayors urging the president to extend work permits, and over 140 Latino state and local elected officials from across the nation have urged the President to act.


ABIC and AFU Applaud President Biden’s Announcement Granting Work Permits to Undocumented Spouses of US Citizens and some Dreamers (June 18, 2024)

Parole In Place And D-3 Waiver Fact Sheet

Immigrants make vital contributions to Pennsylvania’s economy and communities. Key facts:

In addition to Pennsylvania, the U.S. economy depends upon a foreign-born labor force to alleviate national labor shortages, reduce inflation and grow by $7 trillion more over the next decade. Immigrants in the U.S. have a combined household income of $2.1 trillion and contribute $382.9 billion to federal taxes and $196.3 billion in state and local taxes, leaving them with $1.6 trillion in spending power.