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caption: Satirical "corporations and the wealthy" protest outside the Trump Hotel, in support of higher taxes on the rich in the Build Back Better plan on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021, in Washington.
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Satirical "corporations and the wealthy" protest outside the Trump Hotel, in support of higher taxes on the rich in the Build Back Better plan on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021, in Washington.
Credit: Joy Asico/AP Images for Tax March

Biden safety net bill could be better for immigrants, Seattle area activists say

While President Joe Biden's infrastructure bill has passed, his social safety net bill is still making its way through Congress. Local activists are trying to shape the bill’s final form.

On the campaign trail in 2020, Biden promised undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship. He said it would happen in his first 100 days in office.

But in its current form, the bill doesn’t include the comprehensive immigration reform many activists expected.

Brenda Rodriguez Lopez, who directs the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network, is protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

"My right to be here expires every two years, and it is a program that is constantly under attack," she said. "No one deserves to live with that uncertainty. We need a pathway to citizenship, and the time is now.”

The bill does include a long list of other hoped for items, from affordable childcare and universal preschool to Medicare coverage for hearing aids.

Sen. Patty Murray has long championed better access to childcare. In a video tweeted out Friday, she said lack of childcare has kept many people, especially women, out of the workforce.

Advocates with the immigrant and refugee rights group OneAmerica said in a call Friday they were asking Senator Murray to show the same support for immigration reform.

According to the White House, Build Back Better is paid for mostly by taxes on corporations and people earning over $400,000 a year.

Originally, the Build Back Better social safety net bill had been scheduled for a vote Friday, November 5, along with the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act bill.

But only the infrastructure bill passed Friday, giving progressives hope that immigration reform still has time to be added back into the second bill.