Statement
For Immediate Release: 
March 18, 2021
Contact Info: 
Margaret Mulkerrin 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in support of H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act, and H.R. 1603, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. Below is a link to the video and his remarks as prepared for delivery.
 

Click here to watch the video. 
 
“Madam Speaker, for 135 years, America’s bright beacon to the world has been Lady Liberty’s torch, casting a light of hope to those ‘yearning to breathe free.’ We are a nation of immigrants.  They have come throughout our history from every corner of the world, braving hardship and seeking opportunity, arriving here to build businesses, raise families, and contribute to strengthening communities.  Immigrants are a reason why America became the world’s most powerful and most prosperous country.

“For years now, however, our immigration and visa system has been terribly broken.  So much so that millions in this country live in fear, holding their breaths every day, that they could be deported to faraway lands that are not their homes.  Because America is their home.  For Dreamers, it has been their home since their earliest days.  And today, this House is going to take action – as we did last Congress – to help them breathe easier.

“H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act, will provide Dreamers and those here on T.P.S. and D.E.D. status with a pathway to legal permanent resident status.  It will correct a wrong that has brought fear and uncertainty to so many Americans – yes, Americans.  America is their home and their country. We are talking about patriotic and law-abiding residents, many of whom have been here for decades and are working to build strong communities and serving on the front lines of this pandemic as health care professionals, first responders, and essential workers.  We owe them the chance to live without fear of deportation and family separation. 

“We passed the American Dream and Promise Act last Congress with bipartisan support, and I hope we can do the same today.  I want to thank Rep. Roybal-Allard for her leadership on H.R. 6.

“We are also voting on another immigration bill this week, H.R. 1603, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act.  This legislation, offered by Chairwoman Lofgren, would provide a pathway to permanent legal residency to undocumented agricultural workers and their families who are living here and filling a critical economic need.  Without that change, workers and their employers would continue to operate under a cloud of uncertainty and instability.

“The bill would also reform the H-2A visa process by removing duplicative reviews of employer applications, changing wage rules, and allowing year-round H-2A workers, among other improvements.  These reforms are long overdue, and I want to thank Chairwoman Lofgren for her work to bring them to fruition.  I hope, as part of broader immigration reform efforts, that we can address the status of seasonal non-agricultural workers on H-2B visas who contribute so much to our economy and communities working in landscaping, hospitality, and – in my own State of Maryland – the crab industry, with strong labor and wage protections, of course.

“After the House passes this legislation and H.R. 6, I hope the Senate will move quickly to send them to President Biden for his signature.  If enacted, these two bills would provide a pathway to permanent legal status for around 3 to 4 million people. 

“This legislation today is a major achievement and will hasten the moment when 3 to 4 million immigrants and their families can breathe a little easier, a little freer, knowing that they are welcomed and valued here in America, that they are truly a part of our country.  And I look forward to continuing to work with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on further immigration reforms that will protect more immigrants and their families while growing our economy. 

“I urge all of my colleagues to join me in supporting these bills today.”