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Reps. Ocasio-Cortez, Espaillat, Meng Introduce 9/11 Immigrant Worker Freedom Act

October 25, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Adriano Espaillat and Grace Meng introduced the 9/11 Immigrant Worker Freedom Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for nearly 2,000 immigrant workers and volunteers who assisted with clean-up and search-and-rescue efforts at Ground Zero.  The bill is available here

"No one has more 'earned' the right to call themselves an American than the undocumented workers and volunteers who did clean-up and search-and-rescue at Ground Zero.  Yet, twenty years later, many of these immigrants still lack permanent residency, even as they struggle with the health impact of asbestos exposure and other related trauma and injury. The solution is simple and entirely in the hands of Congress. We must act," said Rep. Ocasio-Cortez in a statement. 

“Thousands of undocumented immigrants worked tirelessly on the frontlines of the cleanup efforts following the 9/11 attacks to help clear debris, asbestos and dust for months without adequate protective equipment – risking their mental, emotional, and physical health for our nation,” said Rep. Espaillat. “And yet, to this very day, instead of being shown gratitude for their heroism and support, they continue to live in fear of deportation. It’s unacceptable, immoral, and simply un-American. When we hear of their stories, it recalls images of that tragic day and the impact to each of us, as many continue to suffer 20 years later. I’m proud to join with my congressional colleagues to reintroduce the 9/11 Immigrant Worker Freedom Act to rectify this decades old injustice and light a path forward for those who stepped up for us when we needed it most.”

“Many brave immigrants put their lives on the line to help in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks,” said Congresswoman Meng. “They deserve a fast track to legal status for the sacrifices they made for our nation, and 20 years after 9/11, it’s finally time to make that happen. It is way past time to pass this bill and doing so would be the right and decent thing to do. We cannot turn our backs on those who are struggling with health problems after they put themselves in harm’s way for our country. Congress must act.”