RALEIGH (February 18, 2021) – Today, Congressional leaders unveiled the “U.S. Citizenship Act,” a sweeping bill that seeks to address many of the most pressing immigration issues faced by our communities. The North Carolina Justice Center welcomes this important step forward and will support federal legislation that leads to a fairer, functional immigration system that treats immigrants as human.

After decades of advocacy by directly impacted communities, activists, and the tireless work of Black and Latino organizers and allies, today is a day to celebrate the possibility of a new way forward on immigration. This is one step toward rejecting the cruelty and dehumanization that were hallmarks of the last administration, and a step toward treating immigrants and refugees with the dignity and respect that every person deserves.

While we are still reviewing the bill and will be able to provide more detailed analysis soon, we welcome this crucial step toward a federal immigration system that meets the needs of our communities and lives up to our nation’s highest ideals. It’s time to reunite families. It’s time to rebuild our immigration system by offering Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure recipients, immigrant workers, and countless families a workable path to citizenship. It’s time to build a nation where “We The People” includes everyone, where prosperity and opportunity exist for all of us.

Immigration reform is a bipartisan issue, and a path to citizenship is just common sense. According to Pew, legalization and a path to citizenship are supported by 75 percent of those living in the U.S. Furthermore, 89 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of Republicans say all undocumented immigrants, not just Dreamers, should be allowed to stay in the country legally.
Congress must now have the commitment and courage to act and make this possibility a reality for millions of immigrants and their families, while also avoiding harmful exclusions that deny healthcare and other critical services or a path to citizenship to certain immigrants. To advance racial and economic equity and justice, immigration legislation must be fully inclusive, or our collective health and well-being will suffer.

Legislation like the “U.S. Citizenship Act” is long overdue. It would modernize our broken system, grow our economy, manage border regions with smarter investments, focus on root causes of migration, honor our history as a refuge for people facing persecution, provide additional protections for farmworkers, and keep families together.

We look forward to continuing to collaborate with North Carolinians who support fair immigration policies that treat people with dignity. Together, we will ensure that our Congressional leaders and President Biden act during this historic moment, that they protect and defend all immigrants working to make this country a better place, and that they advance policies to create the dramatically improved immigration system our country needs.