New York, NY—As Congress debates the next, and likely final, COVID-19 relief package, immigrant advocates held a press briefing renewing their demands that Congressional Democrats stand with immigrants who continue to be on the frontlines of the pandemic and fight for an inclusive COVID-19 relief package that provides financial and other support to all those excluded in previous bills. The advocates denounced the Senate Republican’s stimulus package, which does not offer relief to millions of essential workers and immigrants paying taxes with ITIN numbers or their American children and spouses but includes $1.6 billion for Border Patrol. The briefing precedes an evening digital town hall rally highlighting the dire impact of the exclusion of America’s 47 million immigrants in the Republican plan.
“The Republican’s HEALS Act is a slap in the face to all the American families who are struggling to put food on the table at this moment of crisis. The GOP ‘relief’ plan prioritizes Wall Street and Big Banks, at the expense of everyday working people who are keeping our economy going by cleaning and sanitizing offices, cooking and delivering our food, and taking care of our loved ones, whether they be old or young,” said Steve Choi, Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition and co-chair of the board of Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) and the National Partnership for New Americans. “From cruel cuts to unemployment benefits to the continued exclusion of immigrant families serving on the front lines of the pandemic, the HEALS Act will deepen the disparities that are harming immigrants and communities of color across the country. House Democrats offered a real path forward with the HEROES Act, which provides the COVID-19 relief every family deserves and needs right now to recover from the pandemic's hardships. Now, the Senate Minority Leader Schumer and House Speaker Pelosi need to finish the fight for the full inclusion of immigrants in economic and health measures to ensure everyone can better navigate this pandemic and participate in the country’s recovery. It’s time for Congress to step up and pass a full recovery package that includes everyone who calls America home.”
"This week, we were disappointed to see Leader McConnell once again exclude millions of U.S. citizens in mixed-status families across our nation from receiving federal stimulus checks in the Senate's $1 trillion HEALS Act. Denying voting citizens access to stimulus checks is not only morally wrong and economically damaging, but it is also politically foolish. In key battleground states like Florida, where 81,000 individuals and voters were denied stimulus checks through the CARES Package because of the immigration status of their spouse, this decision will certainly prove costly for Republicans during an election year," said Felice Gorordo, entrepreneur and Board member of IMPAC Fund, the Florida chapter of the American Business Immigration Coalition. "This is not a partisan issue. This is an American issue. This is about helping American families survive this pandemic. We call on Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans representing large immigrant populations in states including Colorado, Texas, Arizona and Georgia to support Senator Rubio and Senator Tillis’ proposal for stimulus checks for all U.S. citizens, regardless of who they love. We thank Speaker Pelosi for including this in the HEROES Act, and urge the Speaker and Leader Schumer to not come home without relief for all.”
"The House’s HEROES Act was a step in the right direction. The bill Senate Republicans introduced earlier this week will hurt millions of people and slow down the recovery process even more,” said Grecia Lima, Political Director, Community Change Action. “One thing that is clear is that voters will remember who stood with us, and who turned their back on our community. For months, we’ve been talking to voters about what they care about and what will drive them to the polls. In fact, we are planning to talk to more than 5 million voters this cycle through our layered political campaigns. Republicans should remember that—if they fail to stand with us now, they will be out of a job come November.”
"It’s going to take all of us to prevail over this national health and economic crisis,” said Kerri Talbot, Director of Federal Advocacy, Immigration Hub. “Immigrants are integral to America’s essential workforce at the front lines of combatting this pandemic. No family in America should be excluded from recovery solutions. Congress must correct their failure to include economic assistance for tax-paying families in the next COVID bill and ensure all families receive the assistance they need.”
“Despite the fact that the coronavirus pandemic rages on, the Senate continues to deny real relief and stimulus to Latinos and other struggling families. The HEALS Act ignores the evidence from the CDC and in our own report, that Latinos and other people of color are overrepresented among the sick and dying, the unemployed and essential workers at risk of exposure to the virus,” said Carlos Guevara, Associate Director, Immigration Policy at UnidosUS. “It’s time to get serious. The Senate must tackle the pandemic head-on by ensuring access to COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccines, regardless of ability to pay or immigration status. It must end the family penalty that denies critical cash support to ITIN holders and millions of Americans married to noncitizens, so they can buy food, pay the rent and meet their basic needs. Indeed, the path to defeating COVID-19 and fueling our economic recovery winds through Black and Brown communities.”
“We will never beat this public health crisis unless we take a comprehensive approach, which means including immigrant workers and their families in economic relief so they can afford to stay at home to quarantine for themselves or a loved one or because they have been exposed at work,” said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Voces de la Frontera Executive Director. “We cannot let prejudice get in the way of what is needed to deal with this public health crisis. Immigrant workers who have been working through this pandemic have a right to unemployment cash support. It is immoral, irrational, and dangerous to us all to not include them.”
Congress has passed three COVID-19 relief packages, all of which excluded 7.8 million taxpayers and dependents in immigrant families, including millions of American children, and adult American citizens denied relief based on their spouses' immigration status. As a result, millions of U.S. citizens and taxpayers received none of the financial help that their tax money paid for, and tens of millions of people depended on survival.