A Democratic victory within the Georgia Senate runoff might pave the best way for extra COVID-19 help and immigration reform

Latino groups are pushing Biden to make promises now that Senate Republicans cannot block initiatives

by: Julian Resendiz

Posted: Jan 6, 2021 / 9:49 AM EST
Updated: January 6, 2021 / 9:49 AM EST

FILE – In this file photo dated November 15, 2020, Georgia Democratic Senate candidates Raphael Warnock (left) and Jon Ossoff (right) point at a crowd during a campaign rally in Marietta, Georgia. (AP Photo / Brynn Anderson, file)

EL PASO, Texas (Boundary Report) – A string of house bills killed by Senate inaction could find new life after Democrats flipped the two upper chamber seats in Georgia, civil rights groups say.

Democrats Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock ousted Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in an expensive and highly competitive election. This means that Republicans will only control 50 votes in the next Senate and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris can break a tie in favor of the Democrats.

“As a result of the Georgia elections, many laws dealing with issues that matter to the American people are now getting a fair hearing,” said Clarissa Martinez, vice president of politics and advocacy at UnidosUS, one of the largest Latinos – Advocacy organizations in Georgia the nation.

One such bill is the HEROES bill, which included $ 1.13 trillion in emergency funding for federal agencies and assistance to local governments in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Unidos and other organizations have advocated equitable relief given the disproportionate impact of the COVID pandemic on the black and brown communities,” Martinez said. “We managed to get that through the house, but it didn’t get into the Senate. […] One thing we expect is that many laws that have not been given an opportunity to debate will move forward. “

Another is the American Dream and Promise Act, which abolishes deportation procedures and provides a route to permanent legal residence for unauthorized migrants who were brought into the country as children. The law benefits so-called “dreamers” directly – those who have already granted a temporary break in deportation and who have issued a work permit under the DACA regulation (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) issued by former President Barack Obama.

“We have worked with the new government. We expect that they will introduce laws on immigration.” She added.

Fernando Garcia, executive director of the Human Rights Borders Network, said the El Paso-based organization will hold the Biden government accountable for immigration reform promises, especially now that Senate Republicans can no longer block them.

“The democratic victory in Georgia exponentially increases the possibility of significant changes in immigration policy,” said Garcia. “We are not only talking about a permanent solution for the ‘dreamers’ in Congress, but also about passing a comprehensive immigration reform that will legalize 11 million people who live in the shadows of this country.”

A Democratic victory within the Georgia Senate runoff might pave the best way for extra COVID-19 help and immigration reformPresident-elect Joe Biden arrives at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta on Monday, January 4, 2021 to promote Georgia Democratic candidates. (AP file photo)

He said the organization plans to hold Biden accountable for promises made in the campaign regarding immigration. “We expect a fundamental change in border policy. He doesn’t even need a democratically controlled congress to end the detention of children, stop sending asylum seekers to Mexico, or prevent the construction of the border wall, ”Garcia added.

The Georgia Senate runoff result has cleared the way for the next president to do what he promised, other groups said.

“We are striving to provide relief to hundreds of thousands of deserving men and women through DACA, as well as a more comprehensive reform package for immigration. Once and for all, we can and must grant legalized status to millions of people who diligently, tax and otherwise make law-abiding contributions to our country, ”said Sindy Benavides, national chairman of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).

Likewise, the next COVID-19 relief package shouldn’t exclude members of mixed status families, she said. “Greater and equitable aid to COVID to help all members of our workforce must include undocumented workers who pay taxes and are essential to our country’s ability to feed, protect and provide for millions of people,” added Benavides.

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