Photo Courtesy of Rep. Meng’s Office
“America is stronger when we embrace and assist immigrants in their transition as they contribute to our communities, economy, and culture,” Rep. Meng said.
By Forum Staff
Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing), Sens. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Reps. Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) today reintroduced the “New Deal for New Americans Act,” legislation that promotes immigrant and refugee inclusion, as well as coordinates the efforts of federal, state, and local governments to support the social, economic, and civic integration of immigrants and refugees.
Specific provisions in the legislation pledge to:
- Increase refugee admissions to at least 125,000 per fiscal year
- Establish a National Office of New Americans in the Executive Office of the White House to promote and support immigrant and refugee inclusion, as well as coordinate efforts of federal, state, and local governments to support social, economic, and civic integration of immigrants and refugees
- Establish a Federal Initiative on New Americans to coordinate a federal response to issues that affect the lives of new immigrants and refugees, and the communities in which they reside
- Create a Legal Services and Immigration Assistance Grant Program to support organizations that provide direct assistance to those in need of immigration screening; know-your-rights education; assistance in applying for citizenship, lawful permanent resident status, or other legal status; or seeking relief from a removal order
- Create an English as a Gateway to Integration Program for organizations that teach English or help individuals earn a GED or prepare for naturalization
- Create a Workforce Development Grant Program to ensure that immigrant and refugee adults have equitable access to workforce programs that help equip them with occupational skills needed to secure or advance in employment
- Promote civic engagement through automatic voter registration of newly naturalized individuals
- Bolster family reunification by reducing (from 21 years old to 18 years old) the age at which citizens can petition for eligible family members to receive an immigrant visa
- Amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to no longer allow for the deportation of an individual deemed a public charge
“I’m honored to lead with Senators Markey and Hirono and Representatives Jayapal and García the New Deal for New Americans Act which would ensure a more inclusive and welcoming immigration system to help new Americans achieve their American Dream. Among many provisions, this bill would help immigrants and refugees overcome common challenges such as language barriers and employment attainment, and help break down barriers to naturalization,” Meng said. “Immigrants make up the fabric of our nation. America is stronger when we embrace and assist immigrants in their transition as they contribute to our communities, economy, and culture. Our bicameral legislation is a down payment for future generations to succeed here. I look forward to our legislation becoming law.”
Markey added, “This legislation views our immigration system through a lens of citizenship, not enforcement, and provides comprehensive support for legal, economic, and language needs. I am proud to introduce this legislation that reflects the values of a nation built by immigrants.”