UnidosUS Statement on the Looming Unnecessary, Harmful Government Shutdown

WASHINGTON, DC — UnidosUS, the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization, today denounced extremist House Republicans for putting our country on the brink of a federal government shutdown. UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía issued the following statement. 

“A handful of extremists in Congress are on the verge of causing an unnecessary and harmful government shutdown. Many members of both parties agree that a shutdown would harm our economy and nation. But without a breakthrough on a bipartisan funding bill before midnight on Sunday, certain government operations will stop. This will have far-reaching implications for millions of families and workers, and will leave government employees in the interim without pay, whether they are furloughed or required to work as ‘essential’ employees.  

“The lives of all Americans will be disrupted by a shutdown, but it is likely that Latinos, people of color, and low-income families will bear the brunt of these political antics. This is the exact opposite of what Latinos want. Our polling shows that 80% of Latino voters want their leaders to roll up their sleeves and work in a bipartisan way to get the important work of the American people done, not advance radical policies or play politics.  

Shutdown will particularly harm Latino working families 

“Shuttered programs could cause food insecure Latino families to go hungry. For example, a lasting shutdown will threaten SNAP, which helps feed 40 million low-income Americans, one of five of whom is Latino.  

Some 40% of all families on the WIC program are Hispanic. Among the more than 1.5 million Hispanic children who now rely on WIC for to get enough food to eat, toddlers and preschool children could be forced off the program. If states respond to the lack of federal funds with steps to reduce costs, more than 200,000 pregnant Latinas served by WIC could lose assistance soon after they give birth, placing their health in danger.  

Impact on early childhood education and needed infrastructure investments 

“Head Start, which provides early childhood development services nationwide to low-income households, will have to close their doors to 10,000 children, the majority of whom are Hispanic. This will force parents to choose between staying home to care for children or missing work and not being able to pay for bills or groceries. Local and state projects that depend on flowing federal resources could also be impacted, hurting construction and highway workers disproportionately. 

On the border: Practical solutions are needed, not anti-immigrant hate 

“On the issues of border security and immigration, Latinos want practical solutions that strengthen our borders, allow those entering the U.S. to come legally with visas and not smugglers, and put undocumented immigrants with deep roots in the U.S. on a path to citizenship. We thoroughly condemn the notion that, after decades of congressional inaction on immigration reform, the threat of a shutdown could be leveraged to jam anti-immigrant and unworkable border policies through Congress that are opposed by the majority of Hispanics and all Americans.  

House GOP must put country first 

House leaders could easily prevent these and other harms by passing—as the Senate intends to do—a short-term, bipartisan spending bill that would keep the government open while 2024 funding negotiations continue. To refuse to do so would have devastating consequences for our nation’s most vulnerable, our economy, and the more than 2 million government workers who will have to make ends meet without a paycheck.  

“Let’s hope those holding out for their extreme wish list decide to instead act in Americans’ interests and vote to keep the government running. If they don’t, House Republican leaders must put the country first above unrealistic and extremist politics and allow the bipartisan majority to pass a clean stopgap spending bill before October 1 to end the stalemate and prevent a shutdown.”