Press Release

AFT President Randi Weingarten Applauds Introduction of U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021

For Release: 

Monday, February 22, 2021

Contact:

Sarah Hager
202-393-5684
shager@aft.org

WASHINGTON—Statement of American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, a bicameral bill introduced in the Senate by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and in the House by Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.). The legislation advances much-needed reforms to our broken immigration system by prioritizing family reunification, embracing diversity, expanding humanitarian protections and establishing an earned pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants whose contributions strengthen our economy and country:

“We are a nation of immigrants. Today, immigrants living in the United States are educators and bus drivers, nurses and respiratory therapists, grocery and farm workers—frontline, essential workers who have shown up for us every day, particularly in the last year, risking their own health, as we grapple with COVID-19 and its effects. Over the last four years, immigrants in this country have been subjected to former President Trump’s cruelty and callousness; they have suffered in a state of political limbo, have been separated from their families and have been subjected to terrifying rhetoric, travel bans and discrimination. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients and DACA-eligible youth in particular have had their lives dictated by court decisions, all while they attempt to live, learn and work in the only home they have ever known.

“The introduction of the U.S. Citizenship Act is a step in the right direction toward reforming our deeply flawed immigration system and reaffirming this country as one of refuge and opportunity for all who enter. It affirms our yearslong journey for justice alongside our allies and the belief that immigrants and their families belong together. It’s time to pass inclusive immigration policies that will help take immigrants out of the shadows. President Biden gets it, and with the leadership from Democrats in Congress, led by Sen. Bob Menendez and Rep. Linda Sánchez, we will make inclusive immigration policies a priority.”

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.