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State Lawmakers, Business Leaders and Impacted Families Applaud Biden’s Long-Awaited, Popular Action

Rep. Suozzi: “It’s good policy and good politics”

WASHINGTON — Today, the American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC) and American Families United (AFU) joined federal and state lawmakers, business leaders, impacted families, and advocates to celebrate the Biden-Harris administration’s historic action yesterday granting work permits to long-term immigrants. President Biden’s action is overwhelmingly popular, with the vast majority of Americans supporting extending work permits to the undocumented spouses of American citizens and temporary legal status to other long-term immigrants who have been in the United States for many years.

Joined by U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV), U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY), U.S. Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV), State Reps. Danilo Burgos (D-Philadelphia) and Napoleon Nelson (D-Montgomery), who respectively chair the Latino and Black Pennsylvania Legislative Caucuses, advocates, business leaders and impacted families highlighted how President Biden is keeping American families together by providing immediate solutions for many of the 10.6 million U.S. citizens who live in mixed-status households.

Speakers also showcased how this executive action is good for the economy and good for American families, as immigrants are estimated to boost the GDP by over $7 trillion in the next decade, with this action increasing annual tax revenue by $13.8 billion, shielding workers from exploitation and stabilizing our workforce.

Here’s what they had to say:

U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV): “I am thrilled to join you in celebrating President Biden’s new policy to keep hardworking families together and to also protect Dreamers. This action will help them get work permits and make sure they can stay with their families and fully contribute to our economy. The administration is making it easier to give Dreamers work visas, helping more young people who’ve been to college in the U.S. to stay here and work where they are in demand. Together, these actions could benefit over 500,000 people across the U.S., including over 10,000 Nevadans. This is an incredible step by President Biden and it’s the biggest win for immigrant families since DACA 12 years ago. Still, there’s more work to do to fix our broken immigration system — but President Biden understands that you can invest in border security and stand with immigrant families. That’s the right thing to do and it’s the smart thing to do.”

U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY): When you think about who is sponsoring this call, it’s the American Business Immigration Coalition. People understand that to keep our economy moving forward, to keep our country moving forward, we need to take practical steps like this.The people in America are sick and tired of all the finger pointing and all the attacks — and they want us to work together to actually solve problems. I’m happy that the President has taken this executive action and signed these executive orders. I sent a bipartisan letter to the president along with Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick in early May, asking him [President Biden] to not only work on bringing order to the border, but also to take this common sense step of granting work permits to the undocumented married to U.S. citizens. It’s just good policy and good politics, as well.” 

U.S. Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV): “Thank you to the American Business Immigration Coalition and American Families United for holding this press conference today. […] I applaud the Biden-Harris administration on this effort to support American families. The new measures to provide work permits and a path to citizenship for undocumented spouses and children are important steps forward, and we must continue to work together in a bipartisan and balanced approach on further immigration and border policy.”

State Rep. Danilo Burgos (D-Philadelphia), Chair, Pennsylvania Legislative Latino Caucus: “This is a very important measure to move our country forward. This initiative by President Biden will help over 500,000 spouses of Americans to hopefully become citizens and to continue to be part of the fabric of America — continue to make this country live up to its potential. […] It’s time that Congress gets off its rear end, particularly Republicans and provide solutions for the American people.”

State Rep. Napoleon Nelson (D-Montgomery), Chair, Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus: “It’s wonderful that we get to talk about this on Juneteenth. On behalf of the African American community here in Pennsylvania and throughout the nation, I can understand and underscore the long journey that many of us go through to being able to call this nation ‘home.’ It’s a great day to be able to think about, celebrate and raise up [this] executive action on behalf of this president, who is doing the great work. We appreciate what is coming from Washington and the implications it will have in our communities as 500,000 more Americans will be able to understand, enjoy and take pride in the nation that they have already called home and now will be a part of. On behalf of Black and Brown residents throughout this commonwealth, we know their struggle and we are living it on a regular basis. Juneteenth is a great day to highlight our partnership. ” 

Rebecca Shi, Executive Director, American Business Immigration Coalition: “My mother was able to return to the medical profession at the age of 61 — showing that when you legalize people who are already contributing, you unleash their economic potential. […] The president yesterday signed two executive orders: one speeding up work visas to help people, including our Dreamers who graduated from U.S. colleges and universities, land jobs in high demand industries; and, a second to grant work permits and streamline the process of obtaining legal status for undocumented immigrants married to American citizens. It’s good for business, it’s good for the economy and it’s good for America.”

Ashley DeAzevedo, President of American Families United: “I felt like the President was telling my story yesterday. […] I am hopeful, I’m really optimistic that this administration is going to continue pushing to make meaningful changes for families like mine. That advocacy starts today, making sure that all of the families that need the help are going to get it.”

Allyson Batista, U.S. citizen spouse of long-term immigrant and board member with American Families United: “Over 1.1 million U.S. citizens with undocumented spouses have been in this situation. We’ve been tired and angry, we’ve felt neglected, living in trauma and fear of separation year after year. Now, finally, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. We hope that this program will provide the resources and focus to be implemented as quickly and efficiently as possible in a generous and streamlined manner. […] Thanks to this action from President Biden, I and hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens’ spouses can hope toward a future without fear.”

Peter Guzman, President and CEO, Nevada’s Latin Chamber of Commerce Nevada: “The Latin Chamber of Commerce is so excited by President Biden’s announcement, because it’s good for business and it’s the right thing to do. American employers are desperate for labor. There are not enough workers to go around. Here in Las Vegas, in our wonderful 24-hour hospitality economy, we know that these hotels and casinos could not open every day without immigrants. That is a fact. We also know that if everyone on unemployment got a job today, there would still be 3.5 million open jobs, without the people to take them. […] This announcement means spouses of U.S. citizens and Dreamers around the country will get work permits and be able to fully participate in our economy, filling critical roles and paying taxes. […] This announcement is a welcome one, as we need relief badly. It’s good for communities, good for families and good for our economy.”

Simone Peña, a Dreamer and student at Harvard University: “Thanks to this action from President Biden, I hope to obtain a work permit that would not only allow me to gain valuable experience in my area of study, but also enable me to focus on my future without the conservatory unemployment. The undocumented immigrant community is resilient, hardworking and eager to contribute to the society that has given us a chance to dream. Thank you to the elected officials on this call for your leadership ensuring dreamers like me and spouses of U.S. citizens will finally have a chance to pursue our dream and be our loved ones and safety and security. Thank you for fighting for work per unit for me and our beautiful undocumented immigrant community.”

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.


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

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