Members of Congress Urge Leadership to Include Immigrants in COVID-19 Relief
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, 82 Members of Congress sent a letter, led by Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), to leaders of both the House and Senate urging them to include support and protections for immigrants in the next COVID-19 relief legislation. The letter is available online here.
“With unemployment rates over 11 percent -- higher than they were during the Great Recession -- and with more than 1 in 6 households with children experiencing hunger, the need for financial support is urgent,” reads the letter. “The CARES Act excluded from stimulus payments any family that had an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) taxpayer. The exclusion of immigrant families from economic stimulus payments is deeply unjust and resulted in millions of U.S. citizen spouses and children being denied the relief they desperately need. All families including those with Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) taxpayers must be eligible for financial assistance.”
“Immigrants are a part of our country and our communities. They live and work alongside other Americans, often in some of the front line jobs that we depend on to survive this crisis, from hospitals to supermarkets. But because of a politically motivated campaign of xenophobia, many immigrants have been excluded from the COVID-19 relief legislation, meaning we expect them to risk their lives for us while doing nothing to support them. It’s cruelty and hypocrisy, plain and simple,” said Rep. Chu. “If you believe we should be supporting our workers through this time – and we must – then that must include all workers, regardless of immigration status. Immigration status doesn’t matter when it comes time to pay rent or bills. Excluding immigrants simply means people working so we can buy food will be unable to buy food themselves, ultimately leaving our whole country worse off. There is no partial recovery from this pandemic. We either help everyone through, or we all suffer the consequences even longer.”
“Immigrant families can’t wait any longer for Congress to pass COVID-19 relief,” said Kamal Essaheb, Deputy Director, National Immigration Law Center. “Back in March, millions of immigrants were excluded from COVID-19 testing and treatment and economic stimulus payments. Immigrants are essential, and Representative Chu and the other members of Congress who have signed this letter are sending a clear message to leadership: immigrants must not continue to be excluded, and families need relief now.”
"The failure of the Senate to pass coronavirus relief that includes immigrants is shameful," said Sulma Arias, immigrant rights director at Community Change Action. "Millions of immigrants are hurting through this economic and health crisis and Republicans are standing in their way in order to advance the President's anti-immigrant agenda. We need more Representatives like Congresswoman Chu to stand with immigrants and keep fighting for our families. Any next stimulus deal must include everyone. It's the only way to ensure every family can survive this pandemic and recover."
The letter is also endorsed by: Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC, CHIRLA, American Muslim Health Professionals, United We Dream, American Federation of Teachers, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Our Children Oregon, and Office of Social Justice at the Christian Reformed Church.