There’s no denying that immigrants have shaped America into the beautiful, diverse, and flourishing nation that it is today. However, to say our country is one of immigrants is an oversimplification. For centuries, racism and xenophobia have shaped our immigration policies - from the mass kidnapping of Africans during the slave trade, to the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, to all the issues we are facing today.
As Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, I fight every day for the promotion of democracy and human rights around the world. A country that prides itself on these values has no excuse to treat newcomers the way the U.S. currently does. Seeing prohibitive legal costs, inhumane detention centers, and more, I believe our country needs to fundamentally change its treatment of immigrants and refugees. It is my duty as your elected Representative to be part of that change.
Serving NY-5 is one of the greatest honors of my life. We are one of the most diverse Congressional districts in the nation. Roughly a third of us are immigrants. For the sake of my constituents, and for others around the country and world, I am committed to reforming our immigration system to better serve the millions of people it affects. I recognize that to speak of my support for our country’s immigrants is one thing, and to take action is another. That’s why I am a proud cosponsor of several compassionate immigration bills in the current (117th) Congress:
H.R. 572, The National Office of New Americans Act would create resources for immigrants and refugees’ social, cultural, economic, and civic integration into life in the U.S. From workforce development programs, to English language learning programs, this bill would be life-changing for new Americans who so often feel overwhelmed, confused, or isolated when adjusting to life in a new country.
H.R. 536, The New Way Forward Act would reform our country’s immigration enforcement practices. This bill would end mandatory detention requirements for certain people, including asylum seekers. Among other measures, the Department of Homeland Security would be prohibited from entering or extending contracts with for-profit detention centers, while immigration judges would be instructed to impose the least restrictive detention conditions necessary for migrants.
H.R. 6, The American Dream and Promise Act would protect over 1 million people from deportation. Additionally, the 700,000 DACA recipients, 300,000 TPS holders, and 3,600 individuals with Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) affected by this bill would be given a variety of pathways to apply for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. A U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grant program would be established to assist individuals with their applications under this bill. This bill passed the House last Congress.