Citizenship for Essential Workers Act
Democrats are asking Biden to include this immigration legislation in the second part of his plan, called the American Families Plan, which focuses on education and childcare.
Pathway to Citizenship via LPR
If included and passed, the Citizenship for Essential Workers Act would provide a pathway to citizenship for more than five million undocumented essentials workers with an immediate adjustment to legal permanent resident status.
It is important to note that the status is not granted automatically, and any undocumented essential workers wishing to apply for LPR will need to pass a background check and pay any necessary fees.
Who Is Eligible?
The list of categories of essential workers eligible for legal permanent resident (LPR) status is extensive, but includes such sectors as health care, agriculture, construction, emergency response, sanitation, food, childcare, hospitality, manufacturing, and others deemed essential by the Department of Homeland Security, or the state or local government.
Undocumented immigrants are one of the largest groups among the immigrant essential workforce, making up 5.2 million essential workers, of which nearly1 million are Dreamers part of the 2019 American Dream and Promise Act who entered the U.S. as children.
As more than two-thirds of all undocumented immigrant workers serve in frontline jobs in essential industries—a considerably higher share than among other immigrant groups or those individuals born in the U.S.—undocumented immigrants have been more likely to contract COVID-19. These frontline workers could not perform their essential jobs from home, and many have been hospitalized; thousands have died. Despite this, undocumented immigrants have continued to work on the front lines, delivering home healthcare services, cleaning medical facilities, building temporary hospitals and clinics, and other essential services. Also critical are the estimated million-plus farmworkers part of the 2019 Farm Workforce Modernization Act providing food to America’s tables during the pandemic.
“More than 1 in 20 of America’s combined agricultural, housing, food, and health essential workforce are undocumented immigrants.”