NILC Responds to Enactment of the Families First Act

March 18, 2020

Email: [email protected]
Juan Gastelum, 213-375-3149
Hayley Burgess, 202-384-1279

NILC Responds to Enactment of the Families First Act

LOS ANGELES — As communities across the United States take unprecedented measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, President Trump signed a relief package into law today, the Families First Act, that aims to address some of the challenges facing the country in the midst of a global pandemic.

Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:

“In these difficult and uncertain times, our leaders must ensure that everyone — including low-income immigrants — has access to the resources necessary to mitigate the harmful impacts of this global pandemic. We live in interdependent communities, and it is becoming irrefutable that our personal well-being and futures are intertwined with those of our neighbors, coworkers, and students — many of whom are immigrants on the front lines of the response to this crisis, including as workers in the health care, home care, and food sectors, small business owners, delivery professionals, airport staff, grocery store employees, and others. Ours is the wealthiest nation on the planet; every one of us should have access to health care, nutrition, and economic support as we weather this hardship together.

“The Families First Act is an important first step toward helping millions of families in dire need of relief and will provide much needed paid leave that will be a critical short-term economic lifeline to immigrant workers earning low wages. While we work to address our communities’ immediate needs, much more remains to be done as we ask ourselves: As people risk losing their jobs, homes, businesses, and community spaces, and even as parts of our government close their doors, what new opportunities are we going to create to set ourselves up for a healthier, more inclusive future together?

“This moment requires true leadership and decisive action informed by the best advice of health and science experts and a concern for our collective well-being.  President Trump and his allies in Congress have consistently failed to meet this crisis head on, putting all our lives at risk. At a time when what we need most is clarity, consistency and calm, Trump has offered his usual mix of lies, distraction, and backtracking. He and his enablers have put political expediency over the health and well-being of our people. They have ignored the pleas of public health experts and doctors, and the experience of and lessons learned by countries that were hit by this global crisis before we were. And they have scapegoated immigrants and pointed fingers at other countries instead of taking responsibility.

“Simply put, Trump’s catastrophic failure to lead in this time of crisis will cost many their lives and livelihoods.

“This is a moment for all of us to do our part to take care of ourselves and our loved ones, contribute to building healthier and safer communities, and hold our elected officials accountable. We have clear choices before us that must be made if we are to emerge from this crisis with a healthier, safer, more inclusive society in which we can all thrive.”