Georgia Business Leaders, Immigration Advocates & Impacted Individuals Urge Biden Administration to Provide Affirmative Relief to Protect American Families

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Tuesday, May 21st, 2024

On May 16, and American Families United hosted a press conference with Santiago Marquez, CEO of the Latin American Association, Veronica Maldonado-Torres, president and CEO of the Georgia Hispanic Chamber, Juan Terrazas, Partner Engagement Specialist at the Path Project, impacted individuals, and other immigration reform advocates to encourage President Biden to provide lawful protections for up to 3 million undocumented individuals nationwide. These individuals include those who have been in the U.S. for decades, paying taxes, and building their families.

The press conference featured remarks on the growing calls for the Biden administration to take action and pursue long-established affirmative relief policies like Parole in Place for spouses of U.S. citizens, and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for countries that already meet the statutory requirements affirmative relief policies that would put parole in place for spouses of U.S. citizens, and temporary protected status (TPS) for countries that already meet the statutory requirements. Other opportunities include providing additional relief for Family Caregivers and helping DACA recipients access employment visas. Offering these protections to unprotected individuals not only aligns with America’s humanitarian values but would help keep American families together by allowing long-term residents to fully contribute to our economy. 

These policies are popular among voters and fall within the Administration’s executive power. They offer clear pathways to progress for those continuously contributing to Florida’s economy and nationwide. Today’s roundtable comes as the Biden Administration is reportedly considering enacting these policy changes soon.   

In Georgia, there are approximately 33,000 undocumented spouses married to U.S. citizens. These individuals have spent an average of 17 years in the U.S. and would add $424 million to the economy if they became U.S. citizens. Despite helping Georgia’s economy flourish by working and paying taxes, many of these individuals are left in a state of limbo surrounding their future in the U.S. Regional Government Relations Director Jaime Rangel began the press conference by providing expertise on the affirmative relief policies at hand. The press conference participants shared their reasons for supporting these efforts as well as Tracy Gonzalez and Briseyda Neri who are personally impacted by the Biden administration’s inaction in supporting long-time undocumented immigrants. 

Santiago Marquez, Chief Executive Officer, Latin American Association: “As the CEO of an organization that assists Georgia families navigating through America’s broken immigration system, I am strongly in favor of these common sense actions by the Biden Administration. These actions would support many immigrants residing in our communities and those that rely on them, while benefiting our communities and economy.” 

Jaime Rangel, Regional Government Relations Director,“The imperative to fix America’s failed immigration system extends beyond morality; it’s also an economic and political imperative. By enacting affirmative relief protections, we can unlock the potential for economic growth and support immigrants, our communities, and our workforce. As a DACA recipient myself, I know first hand the impact of congressional inaction and urge the Biden administration and Congress to work together to provide relief for undocumented Georgians and those that rely on them.”

Veronica Maldonado-Torres, President and CEO, Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce: “Today, we gather in the hopes of encouraging President Biden to use his executive power to provide much-needed protections to long-term undocumented immigrants in our country. There are 112,000 undocumented individuals living in Georgia who could be eligible for protections and work permits, the majority of whom, 77 percent, have lived in the U.S. for a decade or longer. Not to mention, this would benefit the 122,000 U.S. citizen children and 57,000 U.S. citizen adults in Georgia who live with these undocumented individuals. At the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, we strive to support the economic and workforce development of Hispanic businesses and professionals advocating for pro-business policies. And the simple fact is that being pro-family is among the most important pro-business policies we can support.”

Juan Terrazas, Partner Engagement Specialist, the Path Project: “I have the privilege of meeting so many incredible immigrant and mixed-status families through my role at Path Project. My main takeaway from these experiences – these individuals deserve better. Spouses of undocumented individuals deserve better, those seeking TPS deserve better, family caregivers deserve better, and the list goes on. I encourage our representatives to work with the Biden administration to provide relief for Georgia families.” 

Tracy Gonzalez, Individual Impacted by Proposed Affirmative Relief Policies: “If President Biden passes these affirmative relief measures, specifically those surrounding spouses of U.S. citizens, my husband and I would no longer need to live in fear, instability and insecurity. We could continue to live, work and contribute here in Georgia, just like we have for decades, but with the permanent status for my husband that he deserves.” 

Briseyda Neri, Individual Impacted by Proposed Affirmative Relief Policies: “These proposed actions for the Biden Administration to take would help my family and so many other families to eliminate the fear of being separated and to remain together. I am glad that I was able to share my story to hopefully encourage much-needed policy changes that will help keep families united.”