Reps. García, Meng, and Jayapal, and Senators Markey and Hirono Introduce Sweeping “New Deal for New Americans” Act to Welcome and Support Immigrants and Refugees

February 24, 2021
Press Release
Legislation focuses on comprehensive support for language, workforce, legal needs and increasing refugee admissions

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Representatives Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), Grace Meng (NY-06), and Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii)  today re-introduced 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. The New Deal for New Americans Act reflects a proactive, humane, affirmative vision for our nation in which the federal government commits significant resources to support immigrants and refugees.

“Like many of the families I represent in Chicago, my family and I arrived in this country simply looking for a fair shot at the American Dream. We were lucky to have a supportive community and a network of services that welcomed us and gave us the tools needed to become U.S. citizens,” said Congressman García “Throughout this pandemic, immigrant essential workers have kept this country running and it’s past time we turn words into actions and give them the same support my family received and that they deserve. The New Deal for New Immigrants builds a more welcoming and inclusive society by eliminating roadblocks to citizenship and ensuring immigrants have access to the resources they need to succeed.”

“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,” said Congresswoman Meng. “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.”

“As a longtime immigrant rights organizer who is now one of only 14 naturalized citizens serving in Congress, I know that the new administration must do far more than simply reverse the cruel, harmful and xenophobic policies of the Trump Administration,” said Congresswoman Jayapal. “I am proud to help introduce the New Deal for New Americans Act so we can finally ensure that our nation welcomes immigrants, refugees and new Americans while supporting them with the skills, tools and resources necessary to succeed as they contribute so much to communities across this country.”

“Immigrant families are backbones of their communities, and they want to contribute and provide for themselves and their loved ones,” said Senator Markey. “The New Deal for New Americans Act provides that opportunity – not just to survive in the United States, but to fully thrive. 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.”

“Immigrant communities in Hawaii and across our country contribute to our nation’s rich diversity, help grow a more dynamic economy, and promote a shared prosperity for all people. Unfortunately, our country has not always recognized these benefits,” said Senator Hirono. “We must actively work to include and support immigrant and refugee communities, and treat newly arrived immigrants with the respect they deserve. This legislation embraces immigrant communities, and provides them legal, economic, and language support to become an even greater positive force for the nation.”

A copy of the legislation can be found HERE. A one-page summary of the legislation can be found HERE.

 Specific provisions in the legislation include 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 (INA) to no longer allow for the deportation of an individual deemed a public charge

Organizations endorsing the New Deal for New Americans Act include: National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), Make the Road, Adhikaar, Church World Service (CWS), Immigration Hub, OneAmerica, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), UnidosUS, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, MomsRising/MamásConPoder, AsylumWorks, First Focus on Children, Hispanic Federation, International Rescue Committee, Oxfam America, CASA, Comunidades Unidas, Center for Popular Democracy, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), National Domestic Workers Alliance, National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights, The Advocates for Human Rights, Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice, Arkansas United, Causa Oregon, Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos, Florida Immigrant Coalition, Global Cleveland, Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama, Junta for Progressive Action, Latin American Coalition, Maine People's Alliance, Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition, Michigan United, National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC), Nebraska Appleseed, Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, Promise Arizona, Somos Un Pueblo Unido, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, The Resurrection Project, Texas Organizing Project, Voces de la Frontera, Unite Oregon, Greater Portland Welcome Center, Academy of Medical & Public Health Services (AMPHS), Alianza Americas, Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, America's Voice, Asian Counseling and Referral Service, Cabrini Immigrant Services of NYC, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, Central Washington Justice For Our Neighbors, Employee Rights Center, Farmworker Justice, Jewish Family Services WNY, Just Neighbors Ministry, League of Women Voters of the United States, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Mobilization for Justice, Inc., Mujeres Latinas en Acción, National CAPACD – National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development, National Skills Coalition, New England Justice for Our Neighbors, New York Justice for Our Neighbors, Inc., Poder Latinx, Presidents' Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, Refugee Congress, Saratoga Immigration Coalition, University YMCA - New American Welcome Center, World Education Services, World Education, Inc., and YMCA of Greater New York.

“As our nation continues to suffer from the coronavirus pandemic, and as we visualize a road to citizenship, it is clear that we cannot move forward unless all are included and supported. The New Deal for New Americans Act would reframe how the federal government treats immigrants and refugees by creating a national strategy on inclusion, expanding access to citizenship and economic opportunities, and developing welcoming communities that respect the rights and dignity of all. We're ready for this new approach and look forward to working with Senators Markey and Hirono and Congressional members Meng, Jayapal, and García to make this vision a reality.” - Nicole Melaku, executive director of the National Partnership for New Americans

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