Soto Votes to Pass Historic Immigration Bills
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Darren Soto (FL-09), Congressional Hispanic Caucus Whip, voted to pass H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act, and H.R. 1603, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, two landmark pieces of legislation to modernize and reform our immigration system and secure permanent protections and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who have been, and will continue to be, key to the economic recovery of the United States.
The American Dream and Promise Act establishes a path to lawful permanent resident (LPR) status for Dreamers and for certain individuals who either held or were eligible for TPS or DED. The majority of these individuals have been in the United States for much of their lives, often with work authorization and temporary protection against deportation. Five years after attaining full LPR status, individuals are then eligible to apply for citizenship, a path that is supported by nearly 75 percent of the American public. H.R. 6 promotes justice and fairness for our nation’s Dreamers, and for the TPS and DED holders who fled ongoing armed conflict and other extraordinary conditions to come to this country and who have been contributing to our economy and our communities for years and are employed at high rates in industries that often struggle to find sufficient U.S. workers.
“Dreamers, TPS and DED holders are Americans in every sense of the word,” said Congressman Soto. “There’s an estimated 100,000 Dreamers in Florida alone. I’ve had the honor of meeting with numerous Dreamers throughout Central Florida who contribute tremendously to our community. Some have even interned in our office. With them in mind, I am proud to join my colleagues in passing the Dream and Promise Act!”
The Dream and Promise Act of 2021 will grant individuals eligible for Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) as of Jan 20, 2021, Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) status, and cancel removal proceedings. This would provide a pathway to citizenship for over 300,000 Venezuelans.
“Earlier this month, President Joe Biden finally delivered justice to hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans in Florida and across the nation,” said Congressman Soto. “To further our efforts for the Venezuelan community, our office secured language in the Dream and Promise Act that would provide a pathway to citizenship for as many as 300,000 eligible Venezuelans!”
The Farm Workforce Modernization Act stabilizes the agricultural sector. It ensures farmers can meet their labor needs by establishing a program for agricultural workers, their spouses and minor children to earn legal Certified Agricultural Worker (CAW) status through continued agricultural employment. H.R. 1603 also reforms the H-2A temporary agricultural worker program to provide more flexibility for employers, while ensuring critical protections for workers. To ensure a legal workforce for the agriculture sector, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act establishes a mandatory, nationwide E-Verify system to ensure compliance with the reformed H-2A visa program while also protecting workers’ due process rights.
“This legislation is critical to Florida agriculture and the farmworkers who help put food on our tables,” said Congressman Soto. “These workers put their health on the line and often live in fear of deportation. I'm proud to support the Farm Workforce Modernization Act to provide stability, protection and fairness for Florida’s farmers and farmworkers.”