Chairman Crowley Announces New Legislation to Provide Green Cards to Undocumented 9/11 Clean-up Workers
The 9/11 Immigrant Worker Freedom Act Follows Successful Effort to Release Queens 9/11 Worker from ICE Detention Facility
(Queens, NY) – On Sunday, July 9, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, was joined by U.S. Reps. Jerrold Nadler, Nydia M. Velázquez, Adriano Espaillat, and immigration advocates at a press conference on the steps of City Hall to announce the 9/11 Immigrant Worker Freedom Act, new federal legislation that would protect undocumented 9/11 rescue, recovery, and clean-up workers from deportation by providing them legal permanent resident status.
“In the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, these workers stepped up to provide critical services so our nation could begin to heal and rebuild,” said Chairman Crowley. “Countless individuals went to work at a long, hazardous and painful job of cleaning up the destruction of the attacks. Yet many of them still lack legal immigration options and have lived in fear of deportation from the country they served. It is a great disservice and injustice to these immigrants who call our country home and that’s why I’m announcing legislation to ensure our nation does right by them.”
Under Crowley’s bill, and consistent with general immigration eligibility standards, these workers could eventually pursue citizenship. Our nation has long recognized and offered similar appreciation for those who served the United States in times of need, whether in our armed forces, as overseas translators, or as witnesses assisting law enforcement agencies.
In June, Crowley led a successful effort to stop deportation proceedings against Carlos Cardona, a Queens resident who aided in the cleanup of the World Trade Center site after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
“In the days and weeks that followed the attacks of 9-11, thousands came to remove debris, clean up lower Manhattan, and get our city back on its feet,” said Congressman Nadler. “Those men and women acted selflessly and bravely, often risking their lives and their health handling hazardous debris and working in an environment we knew to be toxic. At the time, we thanked each and every person who came here to help our city and our country in its moment of need. We cheered their work and their bravery. We called them what they were – heroes. The Trump administration refuses to recognize the heroism of Mr. Cardona, or so many of the men and women who worked beside him. They want to call him a criminal and deport him. We must never allow that to happen. This bill, which I am proud to introduce with Mr. Crowley, will ensure that those heroes are never treated the way Mr. Cardona was, regardless of who lives in the White House.”
“In New York, immigrants are our neighbors and New Yorkers stand up for their neighbors,” said Congresswoman Velázquez. “Those immigrants who worked on the 'pile' and helped our city recover after 9/11 are heroes. No one asked them for documentation when they risked their health to assist all of us. We will not turn our back on them now.”
“New York and our nation will forever be grateful to all the men and women who assisted in the rescue, recovery, and cleanup efforts following the terrorist attack of September 11th," said Congressman Espaillat. "These individuals, documented or otherwise, deserve our most sincere gratitude and should not live in fear of being deported from the country that they served on one of our darkest days. I am proud to stand with Chairman Crowley to support the 9/11 Immigrant Worker Freedom Act and join my colleagues in Congress to recognize the immigrant workers who served the United States during a time of our greatest need.”
“When you consider the sacrifice these workers made, it is the least we can do to show our gratitude,” said Alex Sanchez, United We Stand President and Director of Political Affairs. “We must continue to lead by example to provide leadership that simply saves lives and I applaud Congressman Crowley’s effort to support those workers who served our country in the aftermath of 9/11.”
“During one of the darkest moments of our country's history, immigrant first responders were among those who ran towards the flames and helped put our City back on its feet,” said Steven Choi, New York Immigration Coalition Executive Director. “They devoted countless hours, days, and weeks, often risking their own health and well-being, and asked for nothing in return. We commend Congressman Joe Crowley for the introduction of this bill, which will ensure that their sacrifices are not forgotten in the White House’s rush to demonize all immigrants. Regardless of how we arrived here, on September 11th, 2001 we were all New Yorkers.”
“Our country owes an enormous debt of gratitude to Carlos Cardona and his fellow 9/11 rescue, recovery, and clean-up workers,” said Javier H. Valdés, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York. “We applaud Congressman Crowley for leading this effort and urge his colleagues in Congress to swiftly pass this legislation, which would provide much-needed stability and peace of mind to Carlos Cardona and many immigrant families across this City.”