Padilla announces pathway to citizenship for essential workers in first bill as senator


WASHINGTON, D.C. (KTXL) –  U.S. Senator Alex Padilla announced his first bill Friday, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for essential workers.

Both of Padilla’s parents immigrated to the United States from Mexico. His father worked as a short-order cook and his mother worked as a housekeeper, he said, both jobs that would be deemed essential work during the COVID-19 crisis.

Earlier this month, Padilla announced he will serve as the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety Subcommittee.

Padilla’s Citizenship for Essential Workers Act would create an expedited pathway to citizenship for the over 5 million essential workers without permanent legal status, a news release from his office said.

Padilla’s office says the bill provides undocumented essential workers with a fast, accessible, and secure path to citizenship, beginning with immediate adjustment of status to legal permanent resident.

The bill was introduced Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts and California Rep. Ted Lieu D-Torrance.

“The essential workers that have worked so heroically on the front lines during the pandemic include more than 5 million undocumented immigrants. These heroes have risked their health and their lives to keep our communities safe and our economy moving and they have earned a pathway to citizenship,” Padilla said in the release.

Padilla’s office provided a fact sheet for the bill here.

“The grapes, bell peppers, lettuce and other fruits and vegetables that my family makes sure other Americans have to eat can’t be harvested through Zoom. For nearly an entire year, farm workers have risked their lives to produce our food in the pandemic,” Leydy Rangel, a DACA recipient and daughter of farmworkers in California, said in a statement provided by Padilla’s office. “Laboring through COVID is risky enough—death rates due to COVID have been worse for farm workers and other essential workers than other populations, but undocumented farm worker families like mine face another menace—our lack of legal status.” 

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