USCM Has Long Called on Congress to Modernize America’s Immigration System

Washington, DC – Today New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez and California Representative Linda Sánchez introduced the U.S. Citizenship Act, sweeping legislation to reform America’s immigration system. The bill is based on a plan released by President Joe Biden on his first day in office and is consistent with the official policy of the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM). Mayors have been vocal proponents of a complete and compassionate overhaul of America’s outdated immigration policies. In response to the bill’s introduction, bipartisan mayors holding key leadership positions in the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) issued the following statements:

USCM President and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said, “The United States is a compassionate country, but our immigration laws do not reflect the American spirit of inclusion. America’s mayors are grateful to President Biden, Vice President Harris, Senator Menendez, and Representative Sánchez for answering the call and making reform a priority. Their plan recognizes the value of the American immigrant to our culture, our economy and our nation, seeks to bring order and security to a system that has decayed over decades of inaction, and it legalizes the status of Dreamers once and for all. For too long politics have prevented Washington from doing what is common sense: secure the border, modernize legal immigration, keep families safe, and allow people to earn the right be an American. The Biden plan would not only strengthen our economy but also the bonds that unite us a people. Mayors are committed to working with Congress and this administration to break down the political barriers to reform and deliver lasting change.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Chair of USCM’s Latino Alliance, said “Like our entire country, Los Angeles, at its best, is a place where immigrants can contribute to our economy, our society, and our culture without fear or discrimination — where everybody belongs and everyone knows the blessings of the American dream. Every day, immigrants strengthen our cities as essential workers, healthcare workers, students, entrepreneurs, artists, and more, and the U.S. Citizenship Act is the right step forward to honor our values, uphold human dignity, provide a pathway to citizenship, and lift up our communities.”

Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza, Co-Chair of USCM’s Immigration Reform Task Force, said “The Biden Administration’s proposed immigration reform bill represents one of the most expansive legislative overhauls of our immigration system and is a welcome step towards rolling back some of the most shameful and heartless policies in American history. With this legislation, Congress has an opportunity to not just correct the harms of the past, but to invest in our immigrant communities for the long-term by keeping families together, removing harmful barriers to citizenship, and providing localities with the resources they need to successfully integrate new Americans into our communities.”

Mesa Mayor John Giles, Co-Chair of USCM’s Immigration Reform Taskforce, said “The immigration bill put forward by the Biden administration is bold action on an important issue, one of the most important facing our nation. As a mayor in a border state, I know the impact these policies can have on communities like mine. Reuniting families, smart border strategies, clearer paths to citizenship and a more functional immigration process would put us on a path to the progress we need.”