49 F
Redwood City
Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Alex Padilla seeks citizenship for undocumented workers

key workers
Pamela Cruz. Peninsula 360 Press [P360].

For Senator Alex Padilla, millions of immigrants, who have become essential workers, deserve U.S. citizenship, because, thanks to them, communities can stay healthy and the economy keeps moving, at the cost of putting their own health and that of their families at risk, so achieving immigration reform "is personal".

The first Latino to represent the state of California in the U.S. Senate said, "So I think it's time that we honor them in their work and in their service, with more than just our words.

During a briefing by Ethnic Media Services, the federal official detailed that there are more than five million essential workers - as defined and recognized by the federal government - "but one of those five million frontline workers are not just immigrants, but undocumented immigrants.

And is that, he asserted that those essential workers, despite the pain and risk continued to work every day to help put food on the tables of everyone in the country. "They have helped us.

In that sense, he noted that all those essential workers who labor in hospitals, restaurants, homes and offices, "have earned the opportunity to become citizens of the United States, a country that improves every day thanks to their work and their contributions, in the most extreme circumstances.

"These workers remind me of my own parents. As I mentioned, my father worked as a cook and my mother cleaned houses. She was a domestic worker. And those job classifications are considered essential workers today, so we owe them dignity, respect and a path to citizenship," she added.

"Yes. It's personal for me. But it's also in the best interest of our nation. We are at a pivotal moment in our nation's history as we begin to rebuild the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic."

Senator Padilla said that, for him, relief for COVID-19 is not only addressing health impacts, but also rebuilding the economy in a more inclusive way, which would mean granting frontline workers a pathway to citizenship.

"We know it's also a strategic and key way to stimulate economic recovery and that's why this past week, along with Congressman Joaquin Castro, we sent a letter to President Biden urging him to include this piece of legislation, the pathway to essential worker citizenship as part of his infrastructure package."

In that sense, he referred that according to a 2016 study by the Center for American Progress, undocumented workers contribute $4.7 trillion to the U.S. GDP, in addition to contributing an estimated $11.7 billion in state and local taxes, in addition to other contributions.

He added that future labor force growth, which at less than 1.0 percent per year is very slow by historical standards, will be covered by immigrants and their children.

"And so, I firmly believe that we can't just rely on the people who work hard to keep our nation afloat and keep our community safe in times of crisis and then turn our backs on them as soon as the pandemic is over. That would be a mistake.

"I know we can no longer ignore the contribution of the more than 11 million people who have been living in this country in the shadows, but who work and pay taxes. They, too, deserve a path to citizenship. So I look forward to helping the president move forward with a comprehensive immigration reform package," he added.

And, he said, in terms of public support, we are in a race against time to pass immigration reform because of the political calendar.

"We are in a race against time because of the political calendar? I've learned that the closer we get to the next election, Republican members are going to want to go beyond their comfort zones in supporting immigration reform. I hope to get as much as we can as soon as we can before we get too close to the manager of the 2022 election cycle."

On the other hand, the senator said he was disappointed by President Joseph Biden's announcement not to increase the cap on refugee admissions, yet, he said, more resources have been put at the border for all the families and unaccompanied minors who are arriving from the south.

"We have added capacity, immigration judges and facilities to house asylum seekers humanely and process them expeditiously, but we are in a transition and our job is to hold the administration accountable for these improvements, and we hope that the ability of asylum seekers to apply from their home countries can be restored so they don't have to make that long, expensive and often dangerous trip to the border."

Armed violence, how to stop it?

Gun violence is at an all-time high and continues to grow. In that sense, Senator Padilla explained that one of the reasons why there are no gun reforms is due to filibustering or obstructionism.

"This is another reason why the filibuster, at a minimum, should be reformed. If it were eliminated, a lot of common-sense measures could move forward," he said of it.

"It's increasingly dramatic to see incidents escalate? So we have a lot of work to do, but I think there are models for reforming specific local law enforcement policies and practices carried out by police departments," he said.

In that sense, he said he is eager to continue the conversation in the Senate and in Congress about improving the training and education of police departments, the relationship between the police and the community, as well as having non-police personnel, who often know better how to deal with and respond to situations where a police officer is not the best option.

Pamela Cruz
Pamela Cruz
Editor-in-Chief of Peninsula 360 Press. A communicologist by profession, but a journalist and writer by conviction, with more than 10 years of media experience. Specialized in medical and scientific journalism at Harvard and winner of the International Visitors Leadership Program scholarship from the U.S. government.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay connected


Latest articles