Atlanta – Key workers, many of whom are our immigrant family members and neighbors, are among the many Georgians who have come together to help us through the pandemic. Yet many immigrant workers have been wrongly excluded from full citizenship in the United States.

Both Congress and the American people want solutions. Congress has made many legislative attempts to create a route to citizenship. In March, bills allowing farm workers and those with deferred action for Child Arrivals (DACA), Temporary Protection Status (TPS) and Deferred Forced Departure (DED) to apply for permanent legal status were released from the house on a bipartisan basis . Surveys from NPR / Ipsos, Global Strategy Group, ALG Research, Public Opinion Strategies (GOP) Poll, and Data For Progress all show that 66% to 75% of respondents want a path to citizenship. Despite this overwhelming support, a permanent solution has yet to be legally signed.

As believers, we believe in the dignity inherent in every human being, worthy of justice and inclusion. We believe our federal government must enact laws that encourage full human prosperity, as would pathway to citizenship creation. The next step is for the Senate to take bold action. The people of Georgia urge Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock to ensure that a path to citizenship for our immigrant family members, neighbors and friends is enshrined in law this year.

Georgia residents, including religious groups, want Congress to pave the way for citizenship for the nearly 240,000 undocumented immigrants in the state, about 170,000 of whom are key workers. Reverend Caroline McGee, Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta and Faith in Public Life Action in Atlanta, Georgia, said: “As a pastor, I believe in the God-given dignity of people, including our immigrant neighbors. The pandemic has shown us that immigrants are essential to our communities and jobs, but are too often exploited and neglected. Immigrant families have lost thousands of loved ones who had no choice but to keep working in deadly conditions. Congress has a moral responsibility to adopt policies that provide a route to citizenship for all immigrants in the country. “

Recent surveys by Data For Progress found that 61% of Georgians surveyed support legislation that would pave the way for important workers and other undocumented immigrants to become citizens. This support was also voiced by local policymakers: In March, four Georgia mayors signed a letter to Congress supporting the path to citizenship for dreamers and DACA recipients.

“Congress and the Biden government must take this opportunity and finally move immigration forward,” said Elissa Diaz, Policy and Advocacy Manager at Church World Service and co-chair of the Coalition of Interfaith Immigration (IIC). “A path to citizenship has widespread support across the country, including among people of faith. It would change the lives of so many children and families, including those who are members of our churches, places of worship, and communities. Our leadership in Washington must do everything in their power and use all legislative resources at their disposal to get it passed this year. “

The interreligious immigration coalition consists of more than 55 national, faith-based organizations that come together from many theological traditions with the common call to seek just politics that elevate the God-given dignity of each individual. They work in partnership to protect the rights, dignity and safety of all refugees and migrants.