The Lead

A group of Pa. lawmakers is urging President Biden to protect immigrants

By: - November 20, 2023 4:28 pm

Migrants pray at a March 2 demonstration at San Ysidro crossing port in Tijuana, Mexico, to demand clearer U.S. migration policies (Guillermo Arias/AFP via Getty Images/The Conversation).

Nearly two dozen Democratic state lawmakers signed on to a letter earlier this month, urging President Joe Biden to employ his executive powers to protect immigrants and their families. 

The letter, dated Nov. 10, specifically calls on the Biden administration to protect undocumented youth by urgently getting ahead of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy termination, expand Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Honduras; and give mixed-status families stuck in the application backlog the ability to support themselves through work permits.

“We urge you to take executive action within your authority to provide these families with access to legal protections that will allow them to remain with their family members, including their U.S. citizen children and loved ones. The threats to immigrant families continue to grow as extremist politicians propose policies that could ultimately upend their lives and impact the stability of our local communities and economy,” the letter reads. 

The 20 state lawmakers — from the House and Senate — noted that immigrants make up 7.3% of Pennsylvania’s total population, and added that federal protections empower immigrants to fill critical jobs amid pressing labor shortages.

Additionally, Pennsylvania is also home to more than 3,200 Temporary Protected Status recipients, those who are foreign-born but cannot return home due to circumstances such as war or natural disasters, and an estimated 163,689 undocumented immigrants. 

“We write from a state where immigrant workers and families are vital members of our communities,” the lawmakers wrote. “We live, work, pray and play with those who have come to America to build a better life for their families. We urge you to use your authority to make life better in our states by extending and expanding protections for our friends and neighbors.”

The following state lawmakers signed on to the letter: 


  • Rep. Joseph Hohenstein, (D-Philadelphia),
  • Rep. Johanny Cepeda-Freytiz, (D-Berks),
  • Rep. Danilo Burgos, (D-Philadelphia),
  • Rep. Tim Brennan, (D-Bucks),
  • Rep. Danielle Friel Otten, (D-Chester),
  • Rep. Arvind Venkat, (D-Allegheny),
  • Rep. Tarik Khan, (D-Philadelphia),
  • Rep. Joe Webster, (D-Montgomery),
  • Rep. Ben Waxman, (D-Philadelphia),
  • Rep. Ismail Smith-Wade-El, (D-Lancaster),
  • Rep. Lindsay Powell, (D-Allegheny),
  • Rep. David M. Delloso, (D-Delaware),
  • Rep. Chris Rabb, (D-Philadelphia),
  • Rep. Heather Boyd, (D-Delaware),
  • Rep. Anthony Bellmon, (D-Philadelphia),
  • Rep. Stephen Kinsey, (D-Philadelphia).


  • Sen. Amanda M. Cappelletti, (D-Delaware),
  •  Sen. Katie Muth, (D-Montgomery),
  • Sen. Judy Schwank, (D-Berks),
  • Lindsey Williams, (D-Allegheny).

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.