UnidosUS Urges “NO” Vote on Interim COVID-19 Relief Legislation
Congress must instead prioritize support for America’s working families, including mixed status families
WASHINGTON, DC—As the House prepares to vote on the $484 billion stimulus package known as “Phase 3.5” today, UnidosUS, the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization (formerly known as National Council of La Raza), opposes this legislation and urges members of Congress to vote “no” on the bill.
House members should reject the interim COVID-19 relief legislation (H.R. 266) and instead move swiftly to finalize a stimulus package that includes health care and economic support for Latinos, immigrants and communities of color who so far have been left out of relief efforts.
“It is not just disappointing but enraging that Congress is about to pass yet another stimulus bill without meaningful relief for those who have been left out of previous relief packages,” says UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía. “We support more funding for hospitals and testing but we cannot support stimulus 3.5 as long as it fails to provide for more funding for working families, including Latino and mixed status families, who are hurting economically, are on the frontlines in ‘essential’ jobs that are keeping the country going and need health care and COVID-19 treatment and protection.”
Latinos are on the frontlines of essential industries that are sustaining our country, yet they are also among the most likely to get sick or die from COVID-19. Despite their considerable contributions that place them and their families at risk, millions of Latinos still do not have access to health care and COVID-19 treatment and have been denied access to the very safety net that they help sustain through their work. Entire segments of Latino communities have been barred from relief, including U.S. citizens, legal immigrants, farmworkers, undocumented workers and mixed status families. By leaving out so many people, Congress is harming the recovery of the whole country.
“This moment is making clear that immigrants are deeply integrated into our society and economy and are essential to the pandemic response,” continues Murguía. “Whether harvesting crops, stocking shelves, keeping facilities clean or providing critical care in our hospitals, they are working shoulder to shoulder with their fellow Americans on the frontlines to ensure we all make it. Ensuring that they and their families are included in relief efforts is not only the moral thing to do, but from a public health perspective, the logical one.”
Given that the interim package falls far short of what is critically needed at this moment, UnidosUS urges members of Congress to oppose this narrow bill and work swiftly and in a bipartisan manner to pass legislation that includes access to health care and COVID-19 testing and treatment; cash payments and the expansion of unemployment insurance; and access to SNAP and nutrition to all who need it, regardless of immigration status.