Immigrant rights groups protest dropping of pathway to citizenship from Build Back Better

By: - November 19, 2021 1:20 pm

Marchers arrived in Madison the day before President Joe Biden was set to arrive in Western Wisconsin. (Henry Redman | Wisconsin Examiner)

The immigrant workers’ rights group Voces de la Frontera is planning a series of protests to demand a path to citizenship be included in the massive Build Back Better Act, which passed the House of Representatives on Friday and now heads to the U.S. Senate.

“Democrats in Congress failed to include a pathway to citizenship through registry for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the Build Back Better bill that they passed this morning,” the group declared in a statement Friday. “Instead, the bill only provides temporary work permits for an estimated 7.1 million.”

“Let’s be clear: a majority of Latinx and immigrant voters in Wisconsin and other swing states elected President Biden, Vice President Harris and Democrats to Congress based on their promise to pass a path to citizenship this year,” Voces director Christine Nuemann Ortiz said. “The failure of Democratic leadership in the House to only include temporary work permits in Build Back Better is a betrayal to those who’ve lived and worked here for decades, paying taxes and sacrificing their lives in essential industries during the pandemic.”

“And for what reason?” Neumann Ortiz added. “To cater to racists they will never win over and to cave to corporate interests that rely on a more exploitable workforce to increase their profit margins. Their decision does not reflect what the American people want, as poll after poll shows that providing a path to citizenship for immigrants is immensely popular amongst voters across the political spectrum.”

Calling on the U.S. Senate and President Joe Biden to reverse course and add back a pathway to citizenship in the bill,  the Milwaukee-based Voces and other  members of the national Fair Immigration Reform Movement Action (FIRM Action) are also planning  strikes and protests in the event that the Senate parliamentarian advises against including work permits in the Build Back Better bill.


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Ruth Conniff
Ruth Conniff

Ruth Conniff is Editor-in-chief of the Wisconsin Examiner. She formerly served as Editor-in-chief of The Progressive Magazine where she worked for many years from both Madison and Washington, DC. Shortly after Donald Trump took office she moved with her family to Oaxaca, Mexico, and covered U.S./Mexico relations, the migrant caravan, and Mexico’s efforts to grapple with Trump. Conniff is a frequent guest on MSNBC and has appeared on Good Morning America, Democracy Now!, Wisconsin Public Radio, CNN, Fox News and many other radio and television outlets. She has also written for The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times, among other publications. She graduated from Yale University in 1990, where she ran track and edited the campus magazine The New Journal. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her husband and three daughters.