STATEMENT: CAP Applauds Introduction of the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 and Calls on Congress to Pass the Bill

Washington D.C. — Today, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Rep. Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA) rolled out the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, delivering on President Joe Biden’s promise to introduce legislation that establishes a more fair, humane, and workable immigration system. In addition to providing a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants who have today lived in the United States for an average of 15 years, the bill redesigns and modernizes our legal immigration system to meet the needs of American families and communities, restores our refugee and asylum systems, improves governance and accountability along the U.S.-Mexico border, and addresses the root causes of migration in Central America to promote more safe and orderly pathways.

In response, Tom Jawetz, vice president of Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:

The bill reflects a deep understanding of what it will take to build a fair and humane immigration system that actually works—one that meets the realistic wants and needs of the country today and into the future. From providing increased opportunities for long-separated families to be reunited in the United States, to establishing a series of programs to address the root causes of migration from Central America, to eliminating unnecessary barriers in our employment-based immigration system that undermine American productivity and prosperity, the bill would replace our antiquated system with one that is better aligned with American values and interests.

The bill also recognizes the reality that the American public has long overwhelmingly supported providing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the country today, 5 million of whom are in the essential workforce and have already lived here for an average of 18 years. The alternatives—the status quo or mass deportation—are widely and correctly understood to be unacceptable. We look forward to working with the Biden administration and members of Congress to advance this legislation even as we work toward swift passage of other key priorities, including permanent protections and a path to citizenship for undocumented essential workers and their families, Dreamers, and Temporary Protected Status holders in the upcoming economic recovery and jobs package.

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