Make Them Hear You! is a weekly feature on KGNU, produced by Chris Mohr, letting listeners know how they can have their voices heard on issues up before Congress. You can hear it Wednesday mornings at 8.20am during the Morning Magazine.
I’ve been reading articles about how the crisis at the Mexican border is greatly hurting the Biden administration’s credibility. There are three bills currently before Congress that are taking on parts of the immigration issue.
Let’s start with the Dream Act of 2021, yet another attempt to make permanent Obama’s executive order to allow “Dreamers” a way to stay in the US, which was canceled by Trump, rescued by the Courts, and reauthorized as a temporary executive order by Joe Biden. This bill would stabilize the status of certain individuals who are long-term United States residents and who entered the United States as children. As long as the filibuster remains in place, there is zero chance of this passing. But you almost certainly know that young kids who came here with their parents and who have no memory of their home countries will continue to face eventual deportation unless this law is passed.
The SECURE Act, S. 306, is a bill to provide a process for granting lawful permanent resident status to aliens from certain countries who meet specified eligibility requirements, and for other purposes. Senator Van Hollen said, “For decades, our country has welcomed and protected those fleeing violence and turmoil around the world. TPS recipients are members of our communities. They came here legally and it is unsafe to return to their home countries. We have a moral obligation not to return people to countries that will put them in harm’s way.”
TPS is a temporary, legal status granted to foreign citizens who are endangered by conditions in their home country such as ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster, epidemic, or other extraordinary events. Currently, there are approximately 411,000 people with TPS in the United States from ten designated countries: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
In September 2020, a federal court of appeals ruled in favor of the Trump Administration for termination of TPS designations for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, Sudan, Honduras, and Nepal. TPS recipients now face uncertainty as they wait for the pending rehearing on the case. The SECURE Act will provide stability for these individuals and their communities by giving them the ability to apply for legal permanent residency.
Third, the bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act, first presented in the House by Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., and Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., is also in front of the Senate. It would legalize hundreds of thousands of farmworkers now in the country illegally. They could qualify for five-year renewable visas as well as options for permanent legal status, depending on how long they have been in the U.S., and how long they can verify they have worked on farms. The bill would also overhaul the H-2A visa program for farmworkers, providing dairy farmers and other producers the opportunity to bring in workers for three-year visas, assuring year-round labor needs are met.
If you have ideas on the Dream Act, the SECURE Act, and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, you can contact your Senators.