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In New Letter, 2 Dozen Business Leaders Call for Work Permits for Long-Term Undocumented Immigrants

BALTIMORE When disaster strikes, Americans come together. Following the tragic deaths of six construction workers on Baltimore’s Key Bridge, business and labor leaders joined CASA and ABIC with a call for unity, compassion and action. 

They gathered in a virtual press conference to highlight how the Biden administration must honor these men’s work and lives by extending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Humanitarian Parole to long-term U.S. immigrants. During the press conference, industry leaders released a letter to the Biden administration signed by two dozen business executives.

“This catastrophe lays bare that even with the pivotal role immigrant essential workers play in our communities and our economy, they are being dehumanized, demonized, and degraded across the country and in our government. President Biden has an opportunity to honor the work and dignity of those who have been instrumental in building this nation by granting substantive relief – work permits through legal venues such as Temporary Protected Status and humanitarian parole,” shared Jossie Flor Sapunar, National Communications Director with CASA.

Said Sen. Bob Worsley, chair and CEO of NZ Legacy, LLC; Co-Chair, ABIC Board of Directors, and CEO of the builder ZenniHome, Immigrant workers make this country work every day. As a nation, our debt to them is enormous. And they are not only workers, but human beings. President Biden, we ask that you extend work permits to the long term workers in our industry, via Temporary Protected Status and Humanitarian Parole. Work permits for our workers and employers will help tamp down the selfish and self-defeating political stunts in my home state of Arizona and other places. We are seeing anti-immigrant “show me your paper bills” pop up due to the federal inaction of the last 40 years. I have been on the frontlines of this battle – I won and defeated Russell Pearce in a Republican Primary because he sponsored SB 1070. Let’s not go backwards. President Biden, honor the loss of these men’s lives – grant work permits to long-term immigrants.” 

Said J. Doug Pruitt, retired Chairman & CEO, Sundt Construction, a company specializing in infrastructure and buildings, “I have spent nearly 50 years of my life as a leader in the construction sector. The tragedy at Key Bridge is only the latest reminder of how much this country depends on the hard work of immigrants who have been here for years. There’s no question that we Congress must act for permanent legal status. But this is something the President can do now, for hard working immigrants and for our economy. President Biden, granting long-term immigrants work permits is the right thing to do, and it would be good for America. I urge you to take action.”

We will continue fighting to ensure that every worker doesn’t just return home safely, but is provided the wages and benefits necessary to support their families and is treated with dignity,” said Jaime Contreras, Executive Vice President of 32BJ SEIU, which represents over 20,000 predominantly immigrant property services workers in the D.C and Baltimore area, among 175,000 along the East Coast. “Our nation could not survive or thrive without immigrant workers and they deserve nothing less than basic protections.” 

Rebecca Shi, Executive Director, American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC), said, “We stand in solidarity with CASA to share our grief at the loss of immigrant workers in the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse. By extending work permits the President will honor the honest labor of Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes, Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrera, Maynor Yassir Suazo Sandoval, Miguel Luna, Jose Mynor Lopez, and Carlos Hernández as well as millions of others. We ask the President to use his administrative authority, through Temporary Protected Status and Humanitarian Parole, for the essential workers who have lived, worked, raised children, built our bridges, homes and communities for decades.” 

Two dozen business and construction industry leaders sent a letter to the President that states: “What happened on the bridge is a tragic illustration of the vulnerability of immigrant workers…  Many workers in our industry have been here, contributing to our economy for 5, 10, even 20 years without legal status. By extending work permits to them you will honor the honest labor of Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes, Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrera, Maynor Yassir Suazo Sandoval, Miguel Luna, Jose Mynor Lopez, and Carlos Hernández as well as millions of others.” 

Watch a recording of the press conference here; download the industry letter here.

For more on the response to the Key Bridge tragedy and how to help workers’ families, visit For the effort to obtain work permits for long-term undocumented immigrants, see