PHOENIX – Yesterday, Democrats introduced long-awaited immigration reform legislation that would offer a pathway to citizenship for an estimated 11 million immigrants. The legislation also offers Legal Permanent Residence, often referred to as “green cards,” to beneficiaries of the DACA program and to thousands of people living under Temporary Protected Status. This legislation complements President Biden’s initial Executive Orders on immigration, which included direction to preserve and fortify DACA and a moratorium on deportations.
There are about 650,000 DACA recipients, including about 24,000 living in Arizona alone. Thousands of young undocumented people, often referred to as “Dreamers,” have applied for DACA in recent months, including those living in Arizona.
Despite ongoing efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform, anti-immigrant sentiment remains strong amongst elected members of the GOP. Just last week, Representative Debbie Lesko said Hispanics were “very good workers” but implied they are not Americans and should not be prioritized for vaccinations.
Arizona Democratic Party Chair Raquel Terán stated the following:
“We are proud to see the President and Congress moving forward on comprehensive immigration reform. Immigrant families in Arizona and across the country have been used as pawns in a political game for too long and the time to act is now. We know that lawmakers like Lesko will dehumanize immigrants at every turn so that they can pander to a hateful, fringe minority, but Democrats will remain steadfast in our commitment to advancing these much-needed policies. It is time for our country to unite and finally provide relief for the immigrant communities who have been criminalized by hyper-partisan Republicans.”