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

by: Julian Resendiz

Posted: Jan 6, 2021 / 7:21 PM CST
Updated: Jan 6, 2021 / 7:21 PM CST

FILE – This November 15, 2020 Georgia Democratic Senate nominees Raphael Warnock (left) and Jon Ossoff (right) gesture at a crowd during a campaign rally in Marietta, Georgia (AP Photo / Brynn Anderson, File)

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

Democrats Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock ousted Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in an expensive and hotly contested 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 elections in Georgia, many laws that deal with issues important to the American people are now getting a fair hearing,” said Clarissa Martinez, vice president of politics and advocacy for UnidosUS, one of the largest Latino advocacy groups in the nation .

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

“Unidos and other organizations have urged equitable aid given the disproportionate impact of the COVID pandemic on black and brown communities,” Martinez said. “We managed to get that through the house, but it wasn’t picked up in the Senate. […] One thing we expect is that a lot of laws that haven’t had a chance to be debated will be pushed forward. “

Another is the American Dream and Promise Act, which abrogates deportation procedures and gives unauthorized migrants who were brought into the country as children a route to permanent legal residence. The law directly benefits so-called “dreamers” – those who have already received a temporary postponement from deportation and who have issued work permits under former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) regulation.

“We have worked with the new government, we expect them to legislate on the immigration front.” 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 pledges, 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,” Garcia said. “We are not only talking about a permanent solution for the ‘Dreamers’ in Congress, but also about a comprehensive immigration reform that will legalize 11 million people who live in the shadows in this country.”

President-elect Joe Biden arrives at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta on Monday, January 4, 2021 to promote Georgia’s Democratic nominee. (AP file photo)

He said the organization plans to hold Biden accountable for campaign promises made about immigration. “We expect a fundamental change in border politics. He doesn’t even need a Democrat-controlled Congress to end child detention, not send asylum seekers to Mexico, or fear the construction of the border wall, ”Garcia added.

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

“We’re looking for help for hundreds of thousands of deserving men and women through DACA as well as a broader immigration reform package. Once and for all, we can and must give legal status to millions of people who work hard, pay taxes and make law-abiding contributions to our country in every way, ”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. “More comprehensive and equitable aid to COVID in support of all members of our workforce must include undocumented workers who pay taxes and are essential to our nation’s ability to feed, house and support millions of people,” added Benavides .

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