As expected, Biden also offered support for passing more targeted immigration bills that have already passed the House with Republican votes. The Dream and Promise Act passed the chamber last month with votes from nine Republicans. The Farm Workforce Modernization Act passed with support from 30 Republicans. “Now look, if you don’t like my plan, let’s at least pass what we all agree on,” he continued.
“Congress needs to pass legislation this year to finally secure protection for Dreamers, the young people who have only known America as their home,” Biden said. “And, permanent protection for immigrants who are here on temporary protective status who came from countries beset by man-made and natural-made violence and disaster. As well as a pathway to citizenship for farmworkers who put food on our tables.” Including for Republican legislators who remained silent as others cheered Biden’s remarks.
“Farm workers during the pandemic didn’t ask if the food they picked was for Republicans or Democrats,” United Farm Workers president Teresa Romero responded. “Even while suffering high COVID-19 infection and death rates, farm workers did not ask if the food they harvested was for red or blue states. The Farm Workforce Modernization Act has been approved by the House, now the Senate must act and get the bill to President Biden’s desk.”
In their statement, youth led organization United We Dream called on Senate Democrats to act without Republicans. “Democrats can and must add citizenship for immigrant youth, TPS holders, essential workers and farm workers to the American Jobs Plan right now, and move towards building an immigration system that recognizes immigrants’ full humanity,” executive director Greisa Martinez Rosas said. “That’s the vision that helped us win in November and January, and that’s how we will win citizenship for all this year.”
Biden also urged Congress ”to get at the root of the problem of why people are fleeing particularly to our southern border from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador. The violence. The corruption. The gangs. The political instability. Hunger. Hurricanes. Earthquakes. Natural disasters.” The administration this past week announced more than $300 million in aid to the region, “including $125 million to deal with repeated droughts, food shortages and the COVID-19 pandemic,” Reuters reported.