Villa urges federal government to grant residency to essential workers

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate has backed an effort led by State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago) to urge the federal government to grant residency to nonresidents who have put their lives on the line during the pandemic as essential workers in the farming, agriculture and manufacturing industries.

“We have not had comprehensive immigration reform in decades. It’s time we lend our support to the workers serving our state and nation, no matter where they’re from,” Villa said. “Our essential workers should not have to worry about deportation when they’re already putting their health at risk to keep our communities fed and our economy moving.”

Villa’s proposal urges U.S. Congress and President Joe Biden to grant residency to all farm, agricultural and manufacturing workers who are working during the COVID-19 pandemic and to grant their employers and agents immunity against any adverse action. Nearly half of these workers have been labeled as essential and have continued to work on the front lines throughout the pandemic, despite danger to their own health and safety.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on communities of color, who are more often employed as essential workers,” Villa said. “I urge Congress and President Biden to do what’s right and grant residency to our essential workers.”

Senate Resolution 100 was adopted in the Senate Executive Committee Wednesday.