Responding to COVID-19: New York United Campaign

Now, more than ever, New Yorkers must stand united against fear and xenophobia, and our elected officials must stand ready to ensure every New Yorker across the state can access the essential services they need to keep their families safe and secure, regardless of legal status.

The New York Immigration Coalition, and our members, partners and allies, call on all levels of government to immediately enact these common sense measures to ensure immigrants across the state can remain safe and healthy.

We call on the Federal government to immediately:

  • Protect all people, regardless of immigration status, including undocumented immigrants, DACA and TPS recipients, and mixed status families, in any government relief package:
    • Provide free COVID-19 testing, treatment, and services for all people, regardless of immigration status. Ensure that during this public health emergency testing and treatment of health conditions is provided by federal Medicaid for all who need it, regardless of their immigration status.
    • Include $3.2 billion for federally qualified health centers as the first-line providers of care to immigrant and low-income communities.
    • Provide direct grants to small businesses under 500 employees (including non-profits) to allow them to meet payroll and cover other business expenses for the duration of the crisis.
    • Provide relief to all workers, including independent contractors, food and service industry workers, domestic workers such as housekeepers, farm workers and others who may not qualify for unemployment or paid leave as currently defined.
    • Cover all families who have contributed to the economy and are also devastated by this economic downturn by ensuring that all persons who file taxes with a Social Security Number or other individual taxpayer number (ITIN) can apply for any government rebate.
    • Include direct aid to small nonprofits whose donations are declining during the pandemic and ensure that non-profits receive the same economic relief as businesses.
    • Include an across-the-board restriction against the transfer or reprogramming of any relief funds for ICE and CBP immigration detention and enforcement operations, including border wall construction.
  • Suspend all immigration enforcement activities/operations. In this critical moment we strongly demand the Department of Homeland Security suspend all immigration enforcement activities and operations, including but not limited to:
    • Suspending all deportations, all immigration arrests, including at-large arrests and planned raids, and instructing all local law enforcement, particularly in 287(g) jurisdictions, to cease immigration enforcement.
    • Guaranteeing no enforcement activities at medical facilities, shelters, clinics, schools, campuses, courthouses, places of worship, or other sensitive locations.
    • Suspending Operation Palladium and recalling all BORTAC agents that have been deployed to “sanctuary” localities.
    • Releasing as many detained people as possible on recognizance/parole and/or into community based alternatives, and barring use of solitary confinement or lockdowns. Release all detainees from civil ICE detention.
    • Providing resources for virtual or telephonic ICE check-ins and/or automatically postpone ICE check-ins for the next six months, and extending for a minimum of six months any filing deadlines including for requests for evidence, Notices of Intent to Deny, appeals, and reconsiderations. Extend all grants of deferred action and VAWA prima facie determinations by at least three months beyond the end of the health emergency.
    • Ensuring legal service providers are able to remotely access and represent individuals in all detention centers where people continue to be held in ICE custody.
    • Making provisions for late filings, deadline extensions and rescheduling of interviews with the U.S. Citizenship Immigrant Services (USCIS) and issuing guidance regarding an automatic temporary extension of any deferred actionEADs, including but not limited to DACA, due for renewal.
  • Protect immigrants and their families in immigration court by enacting policies that allow for respondents or their representatives who are sick or at risk to be granted continuances or appear via telephone on a case-by-case basis as well as cancelling all non-detained master calendar hearings, allowing representatives to appear telephonically on detained cases and cancelling all detained juvenile hearings.
  • Clearly identify health care, nutrition and other programs responding to COVID-19 as disaster relief to ensure they will not count toward a future public charge determination by USCIS.
  • Pass the “Resilient Elections During Quarantines and Natural Disasters Act of 2020” to ensure all eligible New Yorkers can exercise their right to vote even in a state of emergency without risking their or others’ health.

We call on New York State to immediately:

  • Ensure immigrant New Yorkers are able to effectively access care for COVID-19, including by:
    • Ensure testing and treatment is free to the public (including undocumented immigrants). Guidance should specifically prohibit eligibility questions and/or other requirements to access relief or emergency social services and support.
    • Immediately end all proposals to cut the State’s Medicaid program and instead pass Coverage4All to ensure every New Yorker has access to ongoing, adequate health care, including prevention, testing and behavioral health services, regardless of immigration status.
  • Ensure constant and effective communication aimed at immigrant communities include welcoming messages for all New Yorkers to seek the care they need, regardless of immigration status, insurance coverage or income by:
    • Opening multilingual novel coronavirus hotline through ONA to manage questions and concerns.
    • Supporting New York’s diverse Limited English Proficiency population by improving language access services state-wide by both expanding and codifying the existing Statewide Language Access Policy, Executive Order No. 26.
    • Conducting statewide outreach to combat xenophobia and racism resulting from the fear mongering of the federal administration and others, and ensuring that victims of hate crimes can access the New York State Hate Crimes Task Force.
  • Support immigrant businesses, institutions & employees by:
    • Passing paid sick leave legislation that covers immigrant workers, such as domestic workers, and irregular or gig workers.
    • Providing a moratorium on state tax collection, providing grants and no-interest loans to small businesses (less than 25 employees), and relaxing documentation requirements and ensuring language assistance is provided.
    • Paying out state contracts to ensure employment rates do not drop nor that businesses or nonprofits shutter.
  • Invest $25 million dollars in immigration legal services funding to ensure immigration attorneys are able to represent immigrants who continue to be subject to cruel federal immigration enforcement.
  • Support New York parents and at-home students’ success by:
    • Restoring $8M in Adult Literacy Education Funding and honoring all current contracts.
    • Fully funding Foundation Aid to enable school districts to respond to a seismic shift in learning and meet the need for essential supports for children and families.
    • Suspending Regent exam graduation requirements for students otherwise eligible to graduate in 2020 unless parents want their child to remain in school.
  • Protect the health and safety of immigrants in the criminal legal system by:
    • Passing the Protect Our Courts Act to ensure no ICE enforcement at sensitive locations.
    • Declaring a moratorium on arrests of individuals for low level offenses.
    • Releasing pre-trial detained individuals, low-level inmates and those over the age of 55 years old.
    • Educating incarcerated people, staff, and visitors on the COVID-19 so they can understand the risks, protect themselves, and measures they should be taking to minimize risk of contracting and spreading the virus.
    • Creating plans for housing incarcerated people exposed to or infected with the virus, and ensure that any plans for lockdowns or isolation should be limited in scope and duration, and based on the best science available.
  • Support individuals who will be negatively financially impacted (specifically because they do not qualify for paid sick leave, work in negatively impacted areas, are not able to work from home, do not have childcare, etc), by:
    • Halting non essential court proceedings (in family, housing, criminal, courts, etc.). For essential court proceedings, in particular for people who are in jail or for whom some other immediate liberty is at stake, respondent/defendant appearances should be waived at the attorney’s request and motions for phone or video appearances and electronic filings should be granted in order for the case to progress.
    • Suspending mortgage, rent, and utility payments.
      Suspending evictions and utility revocations.
    • Instituting an immediate moratorium on debt collection in the state.
    • Creating an emergency financial relief fund for individuals who do not qualify for unemployment benefits, paid family leave, and other benefits because of immigration or employment status.
  • Support New York’s diverse non-profit business sector by coordinating a centralized response to all contracted nonprofits, committing to paying budgeted contract levels through FY21, and streamlining the process and templates to change scopes of work.
  • Ensure all eligible New Yorkers can exercise their right to vote even in a state of emergency by ensuring all New Yorkers have access to an absentee ballot.

We call on New York City to immediately:

  • Provide cash infusion and benefits for service/tipped workers, hourly workers, low-wage workers, gig workers, creative workers, independent contractors and freelancers, including expansion of financial assistance programs through unions, associations and grant programs, regardless of immigration status.
  • Ensure all families have access to basic supports, child care, educational resources and opportunities by making ongoing remote learning equitable for all students, especially during the transition online; ensuring that Regional Enrichment Centers serve all essential workers in the Governor’s Executive Order and other vulnerable immigrant populations; deploying multi-pronged approaches to widely disseminate information; and by supporting home-based child care providers still operating.
  • Support critical immigrant-serving nonprofit agencies on the front lines by ensuring all city agencies commit to paying budgeted contract levels through FY21, declare new guidance supersedes previous inflexible guidance, streamline the process and templates to change scopes of work, and creating an emergency fund to cover increased costs of keeping programs open or serving communities.
  • Expand New York City paid sick leave law from the current mandatory five days to fourteen, and ensure that paid sick leave coverage extends to non profit employers whose contracts do not allow wage adjustment (i.e. paying one staff for PTO and paying another staff to cover their shift, and allowing preventative isolation to be considered as paid sick leave).

Need legal assistance?

Call the NYS Immigration Hotline at 1-800-566-7636 or view our directory of service providers here