Activists placed 400 green banners in front of the United States Congress on Wednesday to demand immigration reform and the regularization of the nearly 400,000 immigrants living in the country with a temporary permit called Permanent Protection Status (TPS, in English).
The banners are green because they want to imitate the "green cards" that the US grants to immigrants who have agreed to permanent residence and who enjoy greater security than those who are undocumented or have a temporary residence permit.
"We are demanding a permanent residence, green cards, that give stability to migrants and their families", explained to Efe Patrice Lawrence, co-director of the "UndocuBlack Network", an organization that advocates for the rights of undocumented blacks.
Lawrence, 32, was born in Jamaica and is undocumented herself, so she is particularly affected by this cause.
She was one of the organizers of the protest act in which, in addition to setting the "green cards" On the grass, activists set up a lectern that TPS recipients of different nationalities passed through to tell their story.
Among them, there was a Nepalese who runs a store and who said that he has not seen his wife for 20 years because she stayed in Nepal and he has not been able to leave the United States.
The TPS is a temporary permit that Washington has granted since 1990 to migrants from nations hit by war or natural disasters and that allows them to live and work in the United States, but to travel abroad its beneficiaries need to apply for a special permit.
Democrats, who currently control both houses of Congress and the White House, want to include TPS recipients in a major immigration reform.
In addition, they want to regularize three other groups that do not have papers: the "dreamers" who arrived in the US irregularly as children, farm workers and those considered essential workers during the pandemic, such as medical personnel.
Republicans have promised to block this immigration reform, so the Democrats decided to include it in a social spending plan that encompasses all the great initiatives of the US President, Joe Biden, and that they want to pass alone using an exceptional mechanism called "reconciliation".
However, in order to use that maneuver, they need the approval of the one known as "parliamentary" Member of the Senate, Elizabeth MacDonough, who acts as a non-partisan arbitrator regarding Senate rules.
MacDonough has already knocked down two attempts by Democrats to carry out his immigration reform, so this Wednesday Lawrence and the rest of the activists asked the Democrats to ignore it.
CRITICISM OF BIDEN AND THE DEMOCRATS
"That they do not make more excuses"snapped Lawrence, who also had very harsh words against Biden.
"I think Biden is not doing enough. You should be gathering the votes of all your party members right now and you should come out and say forcefully that you support access to citizenship for all individuals, that you support green cards.", said the activist.
For their part, Senate Democrats assure that the fight for immigration reform is not over and that they remain committed to that cause.
Specifically, they want to present a new proposal to MacDonough in the coming weeks and are determined to find an immigration solution, either with access to citizenship or with some type of more temporary arrangement, a source familiar with the internal discussions.
Congress has not passed a law for 35 years allowing a large group of immigrants to access citizenship.
The last time was in 1986, when the then president, Ronald Reagan, signed a law that allowed the regularization of three million undocumented immigrants.