February 19, 2021

Cortez Masto: U.S. Citizenship Act is a Long-overdue Step in the Right Direction

Las Vegas, Nev. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) today joined Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) in becoming an original cosponsor of the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, bicameral legislation that would provide millions of hardworking undocumented immigrants with a pathway to citizenship. 

“Our long-broken immigration system has forced millions of undocumented and mixed-status families to live in the shadows and has also failed to safely and humanely secure our border. The US Citizenship Act isn’t perfect, but it lays important groundwork for real progress by putting millions of hardworking undocumented immigrants on a path to citizenship, implementing broad reforms to our outdated immigration laws, and making smart investments to safeguard our national security. I’ll continue working in a bipartisan manner on this and other legislation to create an immigration system that stays true to our values, contributes to our economy, secures our borders, and prevents future administrations from attacking immigrant communities.”

BACKGROUND:

Senator Cortez Masto has been an enduring voice and fervent advocate for fixing our broken immigration system. After hearing from immigrant communities in Nevada, the Senator introduced the Fairness for Immigrant Families Act, her landmark immigration bill designed to help hundreds of thousands of undocumented and mixed-status families who have lived in the United States for long periods without a clear path to legal permanent residency.

Notably, the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 includes the following provisions from Senator Cortez Masto’s bill:

  • Eliminates the 3-year and 10-year bars, thereby removing a major barrier to adjustment of status.   
  • Reforms the rules of immigration enforcement that negatively impact the health, development, and well-being of children subject to separation from their families.
  • Addresses immigration court backlogs and reforms immigration proceedings.
  • Promotes citizenship and integration in immigrant communities.

The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 would provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of hardworking undocumented immigrants, including Dreamers, Temporary Protective Status recipients, and essential workers who have made enormous sacrifices during the pandemic; prioritize family reunification and keep families together; and bolster the country’s long-term economic growth.

Senator Cortez Masto has also long-advocated for smart border security. Last Congress, she visited the border to witness first-hand the effects of family separation and hear directly from law enforcement tasked with protecting our borders. The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 would also equip the country to responsibly manage the border with smart and effective investments, address issues that have forced people to leave Central America, and restore the United States’ commitment to human rights.

You can view the Senate version of the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 here.

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