DES MOINES, IOWA (November 5, 2021) — As negotiations continue on which provisions will be included in the Build Back Better Act, Iowans are calling on Congresswoman Cindy Axne and Iowa’s members of Congress to include a pathway to citizenship. Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice (Iowa MMJ), an Iowa-based immigrants’-rights organization and 35 other community organizations and faith leaders are speaking out, asking Representative Axne to include a pathway to citizenship in the bill and fight against efforts by some lawmakers to remove immigration provisions entirely.

“Updates to the US immigration laws are long overdue. We believe in measures that honor human rights, strengthen our communities, and make Iowa more attractive to individual and corporate investments,” the statement reads. “Now is the time for Iowa’s members of Congress and Iowa’s state and local leaders to reject unwelcoming and anti-immigrant measures, to join with us and do the hard work of delivering real results for Iowa communities.”

Advocates are calling on House leadership to include a pathway to citizenship in their bill, and for Senate leadership and Vice President [Kamala] Harris to disregard the recommendations of the Senate Parliamentarian, who had ruled against the inclusion of the pathway to citizenship. Immigrant communities and grassroots organizations around the country are also reaching out to their Members of Congress to demand that a pathway to citizenship be included.

Instead of a pathway to citizenship, the House bill currently includes immigration parole, which would allow many undocumented people temporary, renewable access to a work permit and relief from deportation, but no opportunity for permanent status. But parole falls far short of the bold steps that millions across the country are calling for and many politicians had promised.

“The administration must fulfill its promise to regularize more than twelve million workers on their way to citizenship,” said Erica Johnson, Founding Executive Director of Iowa MMJ. “Immigrant essential workers have played instrumental roles in keeping the state alive and running during difficult times like the pandemic, even risking their own lives. We call on Congress to act: a refusal to support citizenship is a refusal to dignify the workers who bring food to your table and a rejection of the future prosperity of the state of Iowa.”

Iowa MMJ is also calling on Iowa faith communities, businesses, the agriculture industry and public health associations to join efforts to support immigrants, to reject unwelcoming and anti-immigrant measures and join together to make a more welcoming Iowa by signing on to the statement.

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