Ground Zero recovery workers would get green cards allowing them to live legally in the United States under new legislation announced Sunday by Rep. Joseph Crowley. The bill would give legal status to workers who worked on the cleanup after the Sept. 11 terror attacks but faced deportation over a three-decade-old drug conviction.
The bill introduced in the US Congress by Rep. Joseph Crowley would help provide green cards to immigrant workers who helped clean up Ground Zero in New York in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. The bill would allow for those immigrants to live legally in the U.S., according to a New York Daily News report.
“They went to work at a long, hazardous and sad job of cleaning up the destruction of a terrorist attack on that day. There is no doubt in my mind that what they did was beyond patriotic; it was heroic,” Crowley (D-Queens) said at a press conference outside City Hall. “They served our country when we needed a hand, and now we’re only showing them, unfortunately, the back of ours. Instead of gratitude, they’re being shown the door,” the congressman added.
The new legislation would allow an estimated 1,000 to 2,000 undocumented immigrants who toiled at the wreckage of the World Trade Center to become permanent residents, and eventually qualify for citizenship, it said. It would apply to people who worked on recovery and cleanup in lower Manhattan between Sept. 11, 2001, and July 2002, using the same definition applied in the Zadroga Act for medical benefits, the report noted.
The bill is scheduled to be formally introduced this month and the Daily News reports that backers are looking for a sponsor to introduce it in the Senate. “These men and women acted selflessly and bravely, often risking their lives and their health,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler in the report. “I can tell you one thing we never did when they came to work on The Pile: We never asked their immigration status. We were just grateful for their presence and their help.”