WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the highest-ranking Latino in the United States Congress, today outlined the Biden Administration’s Immigration Plan, the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, which he will be leading in the Senate. The Senator engaged in a candid conversation with the American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC), which included business, labor and faith leaders, and immigration advocates, about this bold plan for immigration reform.
“I will be proud to introduce the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 in the United States Senate. And I know that President Biden and Vice President Harris understand the importance of getting this done,” said Sen. Menendez. “It makes a difference when you have leadership that is willing to put real political capital on the table for this cause. They know this is about more than undoing the damage of the last President or fixing a broken system – it’s about building a better one, keeping families together, respecting human rights and addressing the root causes of migration.”
Sen. Menendez outlined the legislative path forward and the work required to build bipartisan support to get the bill passed in the Senate. He has started having conversations with Republican colleagues and he is optimistic about what can get accomplished in the 117th Congress.
“I am under no illusions. I know from my time in the Gang of Eight that passing immigration reform through the Senate is a Herculean task. We must start this conversation from a position of strength to advance a bold vision for immigration reform,” added Menendez. “To my friends in the business community, we need you to give it everything you got. We need you to make clear with your words, your actions, and your dollars that you will not lend your support to politicians or platforms that stoke fear, spread xenophobia and stymie prospects for reform. To my friends in the advocacy and labor communities, we have our work cut out for us. We must make the case for immigration reform not just to immigrants and their families but to Americans from all walks of life. We must emphasize why immigration reform is in the moral, economic, and best interests of our country.”
Menendez concluded, “We all agree that throughout our history immigrants have enlivened our economy, unlocked innovation, unleashed prosperity, and set us apart in the world. No other country on earth is as rich a constellation of families who hail from all over the world but share a thirst for freedom and opportunity.
Immigrants always have and always will be our country’s greatest believers in the American dream. I know it because I have lived that dream – just as Vice President Kamala Harris has – and I look forward to working with her, with President Biden and with my colleagues to build a 21st century immigration system that keeps the promise of that dream alive for generations to come.”
Sen. Menendez has been a life-long advocate for Latinos and immigrant families in New Jersey and across the nation. In 2018, he led the effort to protect displaced Venezuelans fleeing the dire conditions in their home country and to provide support to migration systems in the countries surrounding Venezuela. Sen. Menendez was also a member of the so-called “Gang of Six” that crafted a bipartisan DACA bill to provide Dreamers with a pathway to citizenship that garnered 54 votes in the Senate, after the President refused to support it.
In 2013, Sen. Menendez was also a member of the so-called “Gang of Eight” that passed bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform in 2013 by an overwhelming majority in the U.S. Senate, only to be blocked by Republican leaders from ever coming to a vote in the House of Representatives.
The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 would build a better immigration system that prioritizes family reunification, brings 11 million in the undocumented community out of the shadows and on a path to citizenship, stands up for human rights, addresses root causes of migration, and includes a smart border security strategy.