UnidosUS President and CEO Tells House Financial Services Committee That Congress Cannot Leave Latinos Out of Economic Recovery

WASHINGTON, DC — Janet Murguía, President and CEO of UnidosUS, the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization, spoke today in front of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services to recommend pandemic relief legislation that would advance racial equity and support underserved communities.

Murguía’s testimony highlighted UnidosUS’s advocacy for more inclusive stimulus efforts that would better serve Latinos, many of whom have served as essential workers during the pandemic, risking their health and financial well-being.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic downturn have dealt a huge blow to the country’s economy, while also amplifying deep divides and inequities in American society,” Murguía told the committee. “For example, the Latino experience can be described in one defining word: ‘disproportionate.’ Latinos are disproportionately overrepresented among essential workers helping America survive the pandemic and are thus disproportionately at risk of getting sick with and dying of COVID-19. And yet, despite their contributions, many have been left out of federal health and economic relief.”

Murguía added that UnidosUS is encouraged by the bipartisan efforts in Congress to provide another round of stimulus checks that includes certain mixed-status families. In addition, plans to extend unemployment benefits, rental assistance and protections against evictions are also steps in the right direction.

However, Murguía warned that lawmakers must do more to ensure that economic assistance reaches all workers and families affected by the pandemic, regardless of immigration status. Further aid is also needed for homeowners struggling with their mortgage payments, funding for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and increased investments in communities that have been the hardest hit by multiple recessions, she said.

“The federal government must recognize the Latino community’s contributions to our country on the frontlines of the pandemic,” Murguía said. “Furthermore, Congress, in lockstep with the Biden administration, must address the systemic inequities that have led to the disproportionate health and economic impacts of the pandemic on the most vulnerable in the nation. Failing to include everyone in final legislation is morally indefensible, will worsen pre-pandemic economic inequalities and is detrimental to the interrelated goals of controlling the pandemic and making a rapid, sustainable economic recovery.”

Murguía’s full testimony to the House Financial Services Committee is available here.