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Press Release // Immigration and Asylum

President Biden Recommits to Immigration Reform in First Address to Congress

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LIRS Staff

April 28, 2021

Contact: Timothy Young | | 443-257-6310

Washington D.C. – In his first-ever address to a joint session of Congress this evening, President Biden recommitted his administration to pursuing long-overdue reforms to immigration policy. Notably, Biden called for the passage of his sweeping immigration proposal, the U.S. Citizenship Act, while signaling openness to targeted, piecemeal immigration policy that would offer a pathway to citizenship to Dreamers and farmworkers, and permanent protection to Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders.

The presidential address also highlighted the crucial role immigrants play in maintaining a healthy and competitive economy and praised Vice President Kamala Harris for her engagement with El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala in order to work towards improved stability and opportunity in the Northern Triangle.

The following is a statement by Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service:

Through a direct appeal in his very first address to Congress, President Biden has signaled that reforming our immigration system is a pressing priority for this administration. We join the President in his call to Congress for common-sense solutions, including a pathway to citizenship.
The U.S. Citizenship Act would keep families together, expand economic opportunity, address root causes by stabilizing Central America, and restore U.S. leadership as a refuge for the persecuted and oppressed. It is encouraging to see a sitting president make that argument to lawmakers—and voters—in a highly anticipated primetime speech.

The administration’s first 100 days have been a heartening reminder that the United States is stronger when we embrace immigrants—and that New Americans enrich our culture, our economy, and our communities. The next 100 days will be critical to advancing immigration policy that is both fair and functional. Americans are ready for Congress to get past partisan gridlock – starting with restoring welcome for refugees and building a clear pathway for citizenship for millions of our neighbors, colleagues, and fellow congregation members.

If we are to restore the soul of the nation, this ambitious agenda must also include raising the refugee admissions cap to 62,500. There are too many lives on the line to postpone this lifesaving work any longer.

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