By Marivir R. Montebon
New York – Democrat Senator Alex Padilla of California is pushing for a law that would provide essential workers in the US a road to citizenship. In a press conference called for by the Ethnic Media Services (EMS) on April 16, 2021, Padilla said that it was time to honor immigrant essential workers with action. “Frontline workers have earned to become US citizens under the most strained circumstances. This is part of rebuilding our economy, to be inclusive of all populations and to stimulate economic recovery,” he said to members of the ethnic press.
“We can rely on our economy to be afloat with hard working people and not turn our backs on them,” Padilla said. His legislative measure is his first being a US Senator and part of the infrastructure package of Pres. Biden’s 2021 economic recovery plan. A son of immigrants from Mexico, Padilla said we can no longer ignore 11 million people living in the shadows.
The Federal government acknowledges some five million essential workers who are undocumented and in need of covid19 and immigration relief. These essential workers provide $11.7B in tax contributions and $12B in social security revenues.
Asked on how he will make this legislation pass the Senate, considering the Filibuster rule, Padilla said that he is keeping in touch with Republican colleagues who are supportive of immigration reforms. “Negotiations are happening right now,” he said.
New York immigration lawyer Licelle Cobrador lauded Padilla’s bill. “Essential workers are the backbone of this country. Serving in perilous conditions and making sacrifices, they should be given a path to citizenship. It a step towards economic recovery However, we should not lose sight of the US Citizenship Act. It will have the most significant impact,” she said.
Padilla attended Los Angeles public schools and is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. After graduating from MIT, Padilla was elected to the Los Angeles City Council where he served as the youngest Council President in Los Angeles history and provided citywide leadership at critical times, including serving as acting Mayor during the tragedy of September 11, 2001.
He was elected to the State Senate in 2006 to represent the more than 1.1 million people in the San Fernando Valley. As a State Senator, Padilla passed more than 70 bills, including landmark legislation to combat climate change, and was named as one of Sacramento’s “most effective legislators.” Padilla served as California’s first Latino Secretary of State starting on January 5, 2015 and was re-elected in 2018, receiving the most votes of any Latino elected official in the United States.
As Secretary of State, Padilla worked to make our elections more accessible and inclusive, while fighting to protect the integrity of our voting systems. As California’s Junior U.S. Senator, Padilla serves as Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety. He also serves as a member of the Senate Committees on Budget, Environment and Public Works, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Judiciary, and Rules. Senator Padilla lives in the San Fernando Valley with his wife Angela and their three sons: Roman, Alex and Diego. (with a report from Ethnic Media Services) #