Rep. Castro Is Working on Bill to Grant Citizenship to Undocumented Frontline Workers


Kevin Dietsch/Pool via AP

By Araceli Cruz

January 28, 2021

The Texas representative also wants to expand Affordable Care Act (ACA) benefits to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.

In France, as a thank you to its essential immigrant frontline workers, the government there wants to repay them by granting many of them citizenship. In the US, Rep. Joaquín Castro (D-Texas) wants to do the same. 

The Latino lawmaker said he is working on a bill to ensure undocumented frontline workers, who have put their health and their families’ health on the line during the pandemic, can acquire US citizenship.

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“Essential workers, including undocumented immigrants, have risked their lives to keep America fed, healthy, and moving forward,” Rep. Castro tweeted. “They don’t run America, but they make America run. I’m working on a bill to grant them a path to citizenship as part of our COVID recovery. #WeAreHome.”

Other lawmakers agreed with Rep. Castro, saying it was because of essential workers in agriculture, janitorial, food industry, and childcare, that the country was able to sustain the pandemic. 

Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.) tweeted, “Throughout the pandemic, undocumented essential workers have put their lives on the line to keep America healthy, fed, and moving. It’s time they are appreciated and recognized as the essential workers they are, with a pathway to citizenship. #ImmigrantsAreEssential #WeAreHome.”

Newly confirmed Sen. Alex Padilla of California tweeted, “Undocumented immigrants who have been on the frontlines of this pandemic deserve not just short-term COVID and labor protections but also the long-term security of a pathway to citizenship. #ImmigrantsAreEssential.”

Rep. Castro is also urging President Joe Biden to expand Affordable Care Act (ACA) benefits to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. In his letter to President Biden, Castro is asking the Health and Human Services (HHS) to repeal its rule excluding DACA recipients from the definition of lawfully present—a definition that DACA recipients qualify for in many other federal programs—and to do so within the first 100 days of the administration.

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“There are over 200,000 DACA recipients who are currently working as essential workers on the frontline of the pandemic, but who remain excluded from the most basic of health care protections under the Affordable Care Act,” Castro said in a statement. “In the midst of a deadly pandemic, we need to do everything possible to extend health care for all. I am proud that this letter gathered such strong support in the House of Representatives, and I look forward to working with the Biden-Harris administration to build on the ACA and expand health care coverage.”


CATEGORIES: Immigration


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