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Rep. Leger Fernández Statement On New Legislation to Restore Humanity In Immigration System

February 18, 2021

WASHINGTON - Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernández (NM-03) released the following statement on the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021. She is an original co-sponsor of this new immigration reform legislation to create a pathway to citizenship, keep families and communities safe, address the root causes of migration, and responsibly manage and secure the border.  Representative Linda Sánchez (D-CA) and Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) introduced the U.S. Citizenship Act today.   

“People all over the world see our country as a beacon of hope. Many leave everything they love behind to come here in search for a better life for their families. Once here, they make our country stronger. Our immigrants care for our elderly, pick and prepare our food, and are incredible entrepreneurs making our economy stronger and more vibrant. But for the last four years, our country’s inhumane immigration policies have demonized immigrants and caused unimaginable suffering.  

“We have a long road ahead to repair the damage and ease that pain. The U.S. Citizenship Act helps repair our immigration system to protect families and strengthen communities. It will keep loved ones together, protect our immigrant workforce, and effectively and responsibility manage our borders. Immigrants are the heart and soul of our country. Throughout this pandemic, immigrant workers - the same essential workers we have thanked endlessly - have put their lives on the line to keep our country running. It’s time that we turn our words into actions and provide them with a clear pathway to citizenship. Let us repay their patriotism and sacrifice with humanity and love.” 

The U.S. Citizenship Act will:  

  • Reform the family-based immigration system by clearing backlogs, recapturing unused visas, eliminating lengthy wait times, and increasing per-country visa caps.   
  • Create an earned roadmap to citizenship by allowing undocumented individuals to apply for temporary legal status, with the ability to apply for green cards after five years if they pass criminal and national security background checks. 
  • Boost our economy and help all workers by creating more jobs and improving wages of all workers. Approximately 3.2 million immigrants run their own businesses and employed almost 8 million American workers and generated $1.3 trillion in total sales. 
  • Address the root causes of migration from Central America by funding the President’s 4-year plan to increase assistance to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras conditioned on their ability to reduce the corruption, violence, poverty, and famine. 

Protect border communities by providing for additional rescue beacons to prevent needless deaths along the border, requiring agent training and oversight to investigate criminal and administrative misconduct, and requiring department-wide policies governing the use of force.