For Immediate Release // Please Excuse Cross Posting
Thursday, March, 4th, 2021
Contact: Viridiana Vidal,

NDLON Reaction to Introduction of Immigration Bills: Democrats are making this harder than it needs to be. Presidential Leadership is Needed.

In response to the introduction of the American Dream and Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, Chris Newman, General Counsel for NDLON, issued the following statement:

“Rather than launch more legislative trial balloons that serve to divide the majority and unite Republican opposition, while unnecessarily lending credibility to racist and criminalizing framing of immigrants and refugees as a threat to national security, Democrats urgently need to take steps that build and maintain unity. This requires leadership from President Biden.

“Millions of American families are facing disproportionate exposure to COVID-19 and experiencing a deprivation of political and economic equality because the US government is failing to act on the will of the majority while the Capitol is being held hostage, literally and figuratively, by a vocal minority of feral white nationalists. The only person who can turn things around is President Biden himself.

“There is no easy solution to this crisis, but Congress, the Executive Branch, and pillars of civil society must work together to modernize immigration policy to bring it in line with national values and the interests of shared prosperity in the hemisphere.

“There is broad majority support for amnesty, and there is a wholesale national consensus condemning the previous administration’s brutality. And yet, despite having won the election in no small part because of this, the Biden Administration’s current position on immigration reform is illegible. As a result, scattered and competing proposals in Congress are dividing the Democratic Caucus and advocates alike.

“President Biden has a lot on his plate, and everyone understands this. This is precisely why he must exhibit unequivocal leadership by taking incremental steps and charting a clear path forward. Each day that passes without a clear and unified plan, the Biden Administration risks squandering an historic opportunity while wasting valuable time.

“He should clarify- today- that his policy will be to grant forbearance of deportation for every single person who would qualify for eventual citizenship under his own bill. This simple step, using untapped legal authority under existing law, would give breathing room for millions of families, it would defang the nativists, and it would unlock potential for progress on COVID relief, work authorization, and voting rights for millions of immigrant families.

“President Biden should then articulate a 50-vote strategy to get a bill through the Senate that provides legalization for the maximum number of people while causing the minimum amount of harm. Organizations like ours that fought vigorously against the Obama Administration’s catastrophic deportation policy would unite behind a clear and bold reform agenda, but there needs to be something to unite behind.

“If there is one thing to be learned from the previous administration, it’s that presidents have unique power and authority to set the terms of the immigration debate. As long as President Biden’s strategy is to let Democrats and advocates fight among themselves, he will do a disservice to immigrants and the national interest while putting other policy priorities in peril. Fortunately, if the President decides to lead, the country will be there to follow.”