U.S. Representative for California Ted Lieu, who represents California’s 33rd district including Malibu, introduced a bill to congress on Friday, Feb. 26, that aims to create an expedited pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who are essential workers.

The bill, called the Citizenship for Essential Workers Act, is also sponsored by California Senator Alex Padilla, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Texas Representative Joaquin Castro. 

The new legislation would immediately adjust the status of undocumented essential workers—of which there are more than 5 million—to legal permanent residents, according to a press release from Lieu’s office, which described the bill as “a critical part of a just and inclusive COVID-19 recovery.” 

Lieu’s bill would also apply to undocumented workers who worked in essential industries but lost employment during COVID-19 and repeal certain barriers for reentry into the U.S.

“Workers in health care, meatpacking, agriculture, public transit and other industries strive to ensure our neighbors have basic necessities and are cared for. During the pandemic, these are people who have risked their lives to keep our economy and country running,” Lieu was quoted saying in the same press release.

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