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U.S. Rep. Espaillat, Key Swing State Latino Elected Officials Issue Urgent Call to President Biden: Extend Work Permits to Long-Term Immigrants

By May 14, 2024May 15th, 2024No Comments
150+ State and Local Latino Elected Officials Endorse Letter Calling on President Biden To Extend Work Permits to Long-Term Immigrants in 2024
WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucusand the only formerly undocumented immigrant serving in Congress, today called on President Biden to grant legal work permits to long-term immigrants alongside a coalition of Latino elected officials and business leaders from across the nation, including the battleground states of Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania, business leaders and directly impacted individuals.
The American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC), National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators(NHCSL) and GALEO Impact Fund jointly hosted the press conference focused on the pressing need for the Biden administration to act this year to expand legal work permits to undocumented spouses and immediate family of United States citizens, Dreamers ineligible for DACA, and long-term workers without a path to legal status. The policy is estimated to increase annual tax revenue by $13.8 billion and would provide significant local, state, and national economic benefits while promoting workforce integrity and social justice. The Wall Street Journal has reported that President Biden is considering administrative action to expand access to work permits for the undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens.
The letter was originally signed by U.S. Representatives Lou Correa (D-CA) and Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-IL); more than 150 local and state elected officials from 21 U.S. states and territories have joined the letter in support of extending work permits to these groups. View the full letter here.
Elected speakers included Utah State Rep. Angela Romero (Minority Leader and President, NHCSL),Georgia State Sen. Jason Esteves (NHCSL’s East Region Chair), Illinois State Rep. Elizabeth “Lisa” Hernandez (Deputy Majority Leader, Illinois General Assembly), and Pennsylvania State Rep. Danilo Burgos (Chairman, Pennsylvania Legislative Latino Caucus). Other prominent figures included Al Cardenas (CEO, VITAL Salud and Board Co-Chair of the American Business Immigration Coalition), Sol Trujillo (Chairman at Trujillo Group Investments), Nora Aguirre (Board President of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals), Everk Sanchez (U.S. citizen spouse of a long-term immigrant and American Families United member) and Reyna Valdivias (Nevada Dreamer without DACA).
U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY): “Immigrant workers contribute daily to the American economy and they deserve the right to work here legally. I am leading the effort in Congress with my colleagues to urge the administration to ensure work permits to undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens, to Dreamers who do not qualify for DACA, and to the nearly 12 million undocumented workers who have lived, worked and paid taxes in the U.S. for years. I commend advocates like the American Business Immigration Coalition, the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL), and GALEO for their ongoing work to highlight the need to support the immigrant workforce that helps power local economies across our nation. Together, we are fighting to ensure immigrants can legally work to support their families and communities, and help our nation thrive.”
Al Cardenas, CEO, VITAL Salud; Board of Directors Coral Gables Trust and Co-Chairman of ABIC: “Our community is looking to President Biden to act for the many long-term immigrants in our community who deserve the opportunity and dignity of a work permit. We have 3 million open jobs and 76 percent of the American public supports work permits for spouses of U.S. citizens, dreamers, and long-term workers. I am proud to be here alongside elected and business leaders from across our community urging President Biden to act now.”
Reyna Valdivias, Nevada Dreamer without DACA: “Since I don’t have a work permit, I work alongside my father in landscaping and construction. I am a 110-pound girl lifting wheel barrels far heavier than my own weight. It is so frustrating to know that President Biden could act, but has not. I was glad to see my Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto call for action and hope others will join her in urging the President to act. I have waited long enough and so have immigrants like me who have powered this economy so long.”
Everk Sanchez, U.S. citizen spouse of a long-term immigrant and American Families United member: “I am a U.S. citizen in Arizona. I am married to Rosa Elena Sanchez, who is an incredible person, a mother who is constantly looking out for the best interests of our daughters, and a business owner who provides employment opportunities. She has been unable to adjust her status. One of our daughters is a cancer survivor and constantly needs check-ups on one of her ocular prostheses because it could come out at any moment. Another of my daughters has a diagnosis that requires more time and special attention for her care. They need their mother with them. My daughters are young and U.S. citizens and still don’t understand why this government doesn’t want to help their mom. And neither do I. President Biden — I am desperate, worried and exhausted. You have the power to act. I am looking to you to take action now to keep my family and the other 32,000 mixed-status families in Arizona together.”
Utah State Rep. Angela Romero (D-Salt Lake City), Utah House Minority Leader and President of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators: “We have seen for too long how a lack of comprehensive immigration reform affects our communities, creates uncertainties and casts a shadow of fear over mixed-status families, dreamers, asylum seekers and communities of color at large. Even though that mandate falls on Congress, there’s more that the government at all levels, including the White House, can and should do. That’s why we ask President Biden to use his parole authority and grant long-term contributors work permits, and do right by many people who call our country home, love it deeply and are eager to continue to strengthen our economy, put food on our tables and keep enriching the fabric of our nation.”
Juan Carlos Cerda, Texas State Director at ABIC and a DACA recipient: “The time is now to deliver the opportunity of a work permit for long-term immigrants who have contributed to our nation’s workforce and economy for years, if not decades. President Biden has an opportunity to take an action that is not only just and timely, but also benefits the U.S. economy while protecting immigrants from exploitation.”
Illinois State Rep. Elizabeth “Lisa” Hernandez (D-Cicero), Deputy Majority Leader, Illinois General Assembly: “Long-term immigrants, including so many in the Latino community, have been working and paying taxes for decades and powering our economy. It’s past time that they have the opportunity and dignity of a work permit. As Deputy Majority Leader here in Illinois, I’m proud to add my voice to that of hundreds of Latino elected officials around the country from school board to statewide office encouraging President Biden to grant work permits to long-term immigrants.”
Pennsylvania State Rep. Danilo Burgos (D-Philadelphia), Chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Latino Caucus and Chair of NHCSL’s Latino Voting and Elections Task Force: “Immigrants in our communities risked their lives during the pandemic so we were all able to keep food on our tables. And today, with this historic shortage of teachers and medical professionals, we are asking President Biden to please extend work permits for long-term contributors. During the pandemic we called them heroes. Today, they are being treated as expendable, which is not true. President Biden, I urge you to take action. Let’s take both the Executive and Congressional steps necessary to help those that have helped America. Mr. President, you can help a lot of Pennsylvanian families if you take this executive parole action. Let’s keep our families together.”
Georgia State Sen. Jason Esteves (D-Atlanta), Chair of NHCSL’s East Region: “I am honored to join this distinguished group in urging President Biden to grant work permits to the long-term immigrants that Georgia, and our nation as a whole, relies on so much. Let’s be clear: in a state like ours, where around 15 percent of our workforce are immigrants, major sectors of Georgia’s economy from agriculture and food, to construction and manufacturing, would collapse without the long-term immigrants who have helped build the foundation of these industries. Granting them stability with a work permit is economically smart and morally right for us to do. It’s completely unfair that so many people we rely on everyday as a state and as a country are being impacted by our broken immigration system. President Biden, you can change that in the short term by granting work permits to long-term immigrants.”
Sol Trujillo, Chairman at Trujillo Group Investments: “I’m going to talk as a businessperson, who has run business and competed all over the world. The one issue we have is we have a deficit of workers, but we have a great cohort of workers, which are mixed-status families, immigrants in total and its our competitive advantage compared to countries around the world. It’s a no brainer as a business person and as an American. $3.2 trillion of GDP is coming from the Latino cohort today, generating 20 percent of GDP growth in the U.S. today. These are families that can coalesce around the American Dream. It’s time now to act.”
Nora Aguirre, Board President of National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP): “NAHREP encourages President Biden to grant work permits immigrants across our nation who have been here for years, or even decades — they are crucial not only as homebuilders and housing consumers, but as valued members of our communities.”
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.