“We are demanding a permanent residence, green cards, which give stability to migrants and their families,” Patrice Lawrence, co-director of the “UndocuBlack Network”, an organization that advocates for the rights of undocumented blacks, explained to Efe.
Lawrence, 32, was born in Jamaica and herself is undocumented, so she is especially affected by this cause.
She was one of the organizers of the protest event in which, in addition to fixing the “green cards” on the grass, the activists set up a lectern through which TPS beneficiaries of different nationalities passed to tell their story.
Among them, there was a Nepalese who runs a store and who said that he has not seen his wife for 20 years because she stayed in Nepal and he has not been able to leave the United States.
TPS is a temporary permit that Washington has granted since 1990 to migrants from nations hit by war or natural disasters and that allows them to live and work in the United States, but to travel abroad their beneficiaries need to apply for a special permit.
Democrats, who currently control both houses of Congress and the White House, want to include TPS recipients in a major immigration reform.
In addition, they want to regularize three other groups that do not have papers: the “dreamers” who arrived in the United States irregularly as children, farm workers and those considered essential workers during the pandemic, such as medical personnel.
The Republicans have promised to block this immigration reform, so the Democrats decided to include it in a social spending plan that encompasses all the great initiatives of the US President, Joe Biden, and that they want to pass alone using an exceptional mechanism called “reconciliation.”
However, to be able to use that maneuver, they need the go-ahead of the so-called Senate “parliamentarian” Elizabeth MacDonough, who acts as a non-partisan referee on Senate rules.
MacDonough has already killed two attempts by Democrats to carry out his immigration reform, so this Wednesday Lawrence and the rest of the activists asked the Democrats to ignore it.
Criticism of Biden and the Democrats
“Don’t make any more excuses,” snapped Lawrence, who also had very harsh words against Biden.
“I think Biden is not doing enough. He should be gathering the votes of every member of his party right now and he should come out and say forcefully that he supports access to citizenship for all individuals, that he supports green cards.” said the activist.
For their part, Senate Democrats assure that the fight for immigration reform is not over and that they remain committed to that cause.
Specifically, they want to present a new proposal to MacDonough in the coming weeks and are determined to find an immigration solution, either with access to citizenship or with some type of more temporary arrangement, a source familiar with the internal discussions.
Congress has not passed a law for 35 years allowing a large group of immigrants to access citizenship. The last time was in 1986, when the then president, Ronald Reagan, signed a law that allowed the regularization of three million undocumented immigrants.