May Day was a pivot point
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Hello ,

Last Thursday marked the 100th Day of the Biden presidency. On the eve of that day, he delivered a speech to outline his next policy initiatives. The following Saturday was May Day, a day that for more than two decades has celebrated the contributions of workers and immigrant families.

Last year, the event went online because of COVID, but this year, we were back in the streets, marching, driving and raising our voices in more than 70 events across the country. The message was clear: our communities are ready for citizenship for all. It's for Congress to pass, and Biden to sign, the Yes to Immigrants Agenda. We are also watching several other initiatives. Please read on!

In his address to Congress on April 28, (CLICK HERE for highlights/lowlights) President Biden reiterated a commitment to fix our broken immigration system, address root causes of migration and pass immigration reform for the 11 million undocumented immigrants. He voiced his support for four bold immigration reform bills that are ready to be debated and voted on in Congress, two of which have been passed by the House of Representatives. These four bills make up the YES to Immigrants Agenda. This was our response.

Immigration Relief via Budget Reconciliation
Immigrant communities cannot wait any longer. This is why CHIRLA pushes for immigration relief for the 11 million undocumented immigrants to be included at every single opportunity, including in President Biden’s American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan. Immigrant jobs are American jobs and Immigrant families are American families.

While immigrants are not explicitly included in this part of the recovery, we know a true recovery is not possible without immigrants. This is particularly true for the essential workers who have kept the country afloat during the pandemic, just as it is for longtime residents of our communities.

We believe Congress can and must pass immigration reform via the congressional budget process known as reconciliation. This would allow the Senate to pass the bill with a simple majority vote and reject attempts to obstruct progress. It can happen separately or as part of a larger package, along as it meets the strict requirements that it be related to budget. Read more here.

For President Biden's proposed spending plan on immigration, CLICK HERE. For CHIRLA's appropriations priorities, CLICK HERE.

You can help us tell legislators to create a long-overdue path to citizenship for everyone by signing CHIRLA’s YES TO IMMIGRANTS FORWARD petition. Thank you!

Advocacy Weeks of Action
On March 29, through April 2, CHIRLA participated in the Value Our Families Virtual Advocacy Week of Action. We met virtually with 16 members of Congress to discuss the importance of family-based immigration and other key immigration bills introduced in the 117th Congress. CLICK HERE for our asks.

CHIRLA met with Rep. Pete Aguilar (CA-31) and the offices of Sens. Diane Feinstein (CA), Mark Kelly (AZ), Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) and Reps. Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Norma Torres (CA-35), Jay Obernolte (CA-8), Adam Schiff (CA-28), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Katie Porter (CA-45), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Anna Eshoo (CA-18), Young Kim (CA-39), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Raul Ruiz (CA-36).

On April 22, as part of the Care Is Essential campaign, CHIRLA joined the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and MomsRising for a meeting with Sen. Padilla to discuss President Biden’s Economic Recovery package, push for the broadest path to citizenship possible, starting with immigrant essential workers, including all domestic workers, and ensure that it also provides decent wages and benefits for caregivers, nannies and house cleaners, as well as support for those who need care for children and aging, ill, or disabled family members.

Unaccompanied Children
Children age 17 and under who are unaccompanied by parents or other legal guardians, who have no legal immigration status, and who are apprehended by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are transferred to the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).

Recently, the cities of Long Beach, San Diego & Pomona announced they are helping these agencies temporarily house these minors arriving at the southern border to ensure they reunite with their family members.

CHIRLA is closely monitoring this process. We are collaborating with California-based stakeholders and federal agencies serving unaccompanied children at the Long Beach and Pomona facilities to ensure the best care and prompt family reunification. CHIRLA is also making a free immigrant assistance line available to parents and relatives seeking to reunite with their children. The number is 213-201-8747, M-F 9am-5pm (PDT).

Other Important Legislation
For updates on the NO BAN Act and the Access to Counsel Act, CLICK HERE.

In May, Gov. Gavin Newsom recasts his proposed state budget and presents new spending proposals following a review of revenue outlook, legislative budget hearings, and stakeholder feedback. The state’s fiscal outlook is relatively positive thanks to the American Rescue Plan, as well as projections of one-time windfalls.

The American Rescue Plan would provide the state with $26 billion until 2024. The Legislature would need to approve its allocation according to federal government restrictions. Earlier this year, the Legislative Analyst Office estimated a $26 billion windfall in 2021-22.

Gov. Newsom and the Legislature now have a chance to invest in our communities, mitigating widespread economic distress from COVID-19. In April, immigrant students voiced their concerns at a CHIRLA-sponsored UndocuFunding Town Hall with State Sens. Bill Dodd and Monique Limón, as well as Asm. Wendy Carrillo.

California’s New Attorney General
CHIRLA looks forward to working with California’s first Filipino American attorney general, Rob Bonta. Our executive Director, Angelica Salas, testified in his support on April 21. CHIRLA also led organizational support of his appointment: approximately 30 organizations and local elected officials signed our letter. The state Assembly and Senate voted overwhelmingly in support of his confirmation (Assembly 62-0; Senate 29-6).

YES to Immigrants State Agenda
CHIRLA’s YES to Immigrants State Agenda this year pushes for undocumented immigrants’ safe access to health care, healthy food, legal help, and specialized services for students. For an update of proposed laws co-sponsored by CHIRLA as part of this ground-breaking agenda, CLICK HERE.

Los Angeles County
The County of Los Angeles released its FY 2021- 2022 CEO-recommended budget. Find more information here. The county’s portion of the Los Angeles Justice Fund was listed as a critical unmet need to continue providing critical legal services for immigrants in removal proceedings. The Board of Supervisors will conduct public budget hearings in May and hold final budget deliberations in June.

City of Los Angeles
Mayor Eric Garcetti released his FY 2021-22 budget on April 20. It has two immigration-related allocations:
Los Angeles Justice Fund: $1 million allocation
DACA fees: As part of its partnership with L.A. Community College District, the city pays USCIS fees for 500 DACA applicants or renewers.

Budget and Finance Committee Hearings began April 16 and go through May 14. This is where the mayor’s office presents the budget to committee members and gets feedback from residents via public comment. Find agendas here.

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The policy team at CHIRLA is:

Joseph Villela   
Luz Castro
Carl Bergquist
Rita Medina
Esperanza Guevara
Mariana Magaña

Follow us on social media and watch for La Política con CHIRLA, live on Facebook Apr. 21 at 5pm PDT, 8pm EDT

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