Week 6: August 3, 2020
With the senate currently in the process of negotiating a new COVID-19 relief package, it is vital that everyone is included, regardless of immigration status. In the previous two relief packages, the federal government turned their backs on immigrant communities, denying them necessary economic aid, employment protection, and testing and treatment for the coronavirus. Despite being taxpayers and making up a significant portion of the frontline workforce, the immigrant community has been systematically denied basic protections, and we can’t let it happen again.
There have been two previous relief packages: The CARES Act and Family First Act. Together, these bills supposedly provided free access to treatment and testing, along with financial support to those hit the hardest by economic collapse. However, both of these bills deliberately and methodically excluded immigrant populations - even excluding some U.S. citizens who live in mixed status homes. The HEROS act, which passed in the House of Representatives in May, took steps to remedy the exclusions of the previous two acts in mandating free testing and care be available to everyone regardless of immigration status and providing stimulus checks to immigrants left out of previous bills. The HEROES Act also includes provisions to automatically extend work visas and protect families from deportation, while also releasing families from ICE detention.
Having passed the House of representatives, the new COVID relief package is at the center of ongoing negotiations in the Senate. During this process, the House Republicans have proposed their own bill which excludes many of the provisions included in the HEROES Act – including those that protected immigrant families. Now is the time to demand that basic access be treatment and testing be afforded to all those who need it, regardless of immigration status.
- If you want a more in depth, detailed description of what the new bill should include, take a look at this article:
30 second action step: The ACLU has also written email scripts about the issue, simply enter your name and zip-code and an email will be sent to your representative.