NILC Statement Regarding $900 Billion COVID Relief Package

December 21, 2020

Juan Gastelum, [email protected], 213-375-3149

National Immigration Law Center (NILC) Statement Regarding $900 Billion COVID Relief Package

WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate passed a $900 billion COVID relief bill to provide additional economic relief amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The bill passed as infection rates across the country are spiking and after nearly 9 months since the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

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

“In a long overdue vote, Congress passed a COVID-19 relief bill that provides crucial relief to families to survive the pandemic. While the last COVID-19 package cruelly and unnecessarily denied direct payments to millions of immigrant workers and taxpayers as well as U.S. citizens in “mixed-status families”, we applaud the inclusion of 3.5 million people in mixed-status families in the new payments as well as a retroactive fix to the CARES Act exclusion that will allow some of these same mixed status families to receive urgently needed economic relief. The bill also permanently restores eligibility for Medicaid to the nearly 100,000 Marshallese and other Pacific Islanders living in the U.S. under the Compacts of Free Association, many of whom have served as frontline workers during the pandemic, who have been denied access to healthcare for over two decades.

“While these victories create a new “floor” for legislative action, Congress unconscionably continues to exclude over four million immigrant workers, taxpayers, and their U.S. citizen family members—including two million children—all while wasting billions of taxpayer dollars on ICE and CBP’s harmful anti-immigrant agenda, with funding for a dangerous border wall and for doubling the number of people currently locked up in detention conditions that will lead to even more pandemic-related deaths.

“While an important step forward, this bill is still deeply inadequate to meet the unprecedented economic needs of the moment. As we head into a new year and a new Congress, we remain committed to fighting to ensure that our taxpayer resources are used to provide crucial access to health care and other supports, so everyone in our communities can live and work with dignity. Moving forward, Congress must recognize that immigrants continue to play essential roles during the pandemic and beyond. All of us deserve to be treated with dignity and humanity no matter how much money we make, or where we were born.”

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