Social Issues

Group places green placards outside US Capitol to demand immigration reform

Washington, Oct 13 (EFE).- Activists placed 400 green placards in front of the United States Capitol on Wednesday to dramatize their demand that lawmakers grant permanent residence to the nearly 400,000 foreign nationals now living in the US under Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

The placards represent “green cards,” as the documents issued to legal permanent residents are popularly known, Jamaican immigrant Patrice Lawrence told Efe.

Along with the placards, Lawrence, co-director of UndocuBlack Network (which advocates for the rights of Black undocumented migrants) and her fellow activists also set up a lectern for TPS beneficiaries of various nationalities to share their stories.

One of the speakers was a Nepalese shopkeeper who has not seen his wife back in Nepal for 20 years because leaving the US without special permission would risk the loss of his TPS, a mechanism created in 1990 to aid people from countries battered by war or natural disasters.

With Democrats in control of both the White House and Congress for the first time in a decade, expectations for immigration reform were high when President Joe Biden took office in January.

But because Republican opponents of reform have enough seats in the Senate to block legislation under normal procedure, the only way to change immigration law is via a process called reconciliation.

Democrats were already planning to use reconciliation to pass a spending package as part of Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda and the first draft of the bill included an immigration measure to assist TPS recipients; young people brought to the US illegally as children, known as Dreamers; farm workers; and migrants in the category of “essential workers.”

That idea encountered an obstacle in the form of a ruling by the Senate parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, that immigration reform cannot be passed via reconciliation.

Which explains why the slogans “Disregard the Parliamentarian” and “Overrule the Parliamentarian” appeared alongside “Citizenship Now” featured at Wednesday’s event outside the Capitol. EFE


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