“The immigration provisions in The Build Back Better Act will accelerate our economic recovery and protect the millions of undocumented immigrants that have lived, worked, and contributed to American society for decades,” said Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) in a statement. “They are entrepreneurs, innovators, consumers, essential workers, and much more — who power our economy and create employment opportunities for all Americans.”
Guillermo Garcia, an undocumented farm worker originally from El Salvador and proud United Farm Worker leader, is just one of the 7 million undocumented immigrants who would become eligible for temporary work permits and protection from deportation under the House version of the bill.
Guillermo Garcia speaks at a press conference on immigration on Capitol Hill. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
“For two decades, I have worked as a farmworker harvesting food for the nation and for many of us,” Garcia said at a recent event with Rep. Castro and others. “A work and travel permit means having the security of working without fear and traveling to our native country and being able to return.”
“If Build Back Better passes with immigration protections and benefits, I could obtain a work permit and live with more security and relief — things I have lacked during this pandemic,” added Amparo Gonsalez de Portillo, a domestic worker from Virginia and National Domestic Workers Alliance member.
Immigration relief for essential workers has never been more popular. New polling from Data for Progress suggests that 75 percent of likely voters support the immigration provisions outlined in the House version of the Build Back Better Act. But popular as these policies are, they are likely on the chopping block, facing opposition from either Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) or outright rejection from the Senate parliamentarian yet again.Whatever the outcome, immigrant rights advocates will continue to take to the streets and pressure their elected officials to make good on their campaign promises for a pathway to citizenship.