United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) joined Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) along with Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and a group of 11 colleagues in a letter to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which has suspended live interviews and U.S. Citizenship Oath of Allegiance Ceremonies during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, urging the Administration to implement technological solutions that will allow eligible immigrants to complete the last steps on their path to citizenship.
“While public health guidelines make clear that in-person contact should be limited to slow the further spread of the coronavirus, we urge USCIS to design and implement technological solutions that will allow immigrants who have played by the rules to complete the last steps on their path to citizenship,” the senators wrote. “As a result of USCIS’s March 18 freeze on oath ceremonies alone, over 100,000 people who have been approved for naturalization may be prohibited from taking their oaths and may therefore not be able to exercise their right as citizens to vote in November.”
The letter was also signed by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senators Mazie Hirono (D-Hawai’i), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).
Senator Warren has been a champion for immigrants, including during the COVID-19 pandemic:
– She has cosponsored the Federal Immigrant Release for Safety and Security Together (FIRST) Act, introduced by Senator Booker and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), to move immigrants out of detention and halt immigration enforcement against individuals not deemed a significant public safety risk during the pandemic.
– In early March, she led a letter urging the Trump Administration to suspend all immigration enforcement actions in and around hospitals and other medical facilities.
– She recently joined her colleagues in a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) pushing for the release of vulnerable and low-risk detained persons from DHS custody as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise. She and her colleagues previously wrote to DHS, ICE, and CBP asking about their plans to prepare for the possible spread of COVID-19 within DHS facilities.
– She joined Senator Durbin in urging President Trump to automatically extend work authorizations for recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protected Status during the pandemic.
– On March 11, she sent a letter with Senator Markey raising concerns about the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) handling of COVID-19 prevention efforts in the immigration courts. Senator Warren later urged DOJ to close all immigration courts to prevent the spread of the virus.
– She has also introduced the Prioritizing Pandemic Prevention Act (S. 3510), legislation to defund the border wall and direct those funds to combating COVID-19.