Democratic Win In Georgia Senate Runoffs Could Pave Way For More COVID-19 Relief, Immigration Reform

FILE – In this Nov. 15, 2020, file photo Georgia Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate Raphael Warnock, left, and Jon Ossoff, right, gesture toward a crowd during a campaign rally in Marietta, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

Latino groups to press Biden on promises made now that Senate Republicans can’t block initiatives

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – A slew of House bills killed by inaction in the Senate may find new life after Democrats flipped the two upper-chamber seats in Georgia, civil rights organizations say.

Democrats Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock ousted Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in an expensive and hotly contested election. This means Republicans will control only 50 votes in the next Senate, and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris can break a tie in favor of Democrats.

“One result from the election in Georgia is that many pieces of legislation addressing topics important to the American people will get a fair hearing now,” said Clarissa Martinez, vice president of policy and advocacy for UnidosUS, one of the largest Latino advocacy organizations in the nation.

One such bill is the HEROES Act, which included $1.13 trillion in emergency appropriations for federal agencies and assistance to local governments coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Unidos and other organizations have been pushing for equitable relief given the disproportionate impact that the COVID pandemic has had on black and brown communities,” Martinez said. “We succeeded in getting that through the House, but it wasn’t taken up in the Senate. […] One thing we expect to see is that a lot of legislation that was not given a chance for debate will move forward.”

Another is the American Dream and Promise Act, which cancels removal procedures and provides a path to permanent legal residence to unauthorized migrants brought into the country as children. The Act directly benefits the so-called “Dreamers” – those already afforded a temporary reprieve from deportation and issued work permits under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order issued by former President Barack Obama.

“We have been working with the incoming administration, we expect they’re going to be introducing legislation on the immigration front.” she added.

By Julian Resendiz for BORDER REPORT
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