Category Archives: News Releases

HEAL Act Expands Access to Health Care Regardless of Immigration Status

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 20, 2020

CONTACT
– Hayley Burgess, National Immigration Law Center, 202-805-0375, [email protected]
– Nikki Metzgar, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, 202-599-7642, [email protected]

The HEAL Act Expands Access to Health Care Regardless of Immigration Status

Legislation sponsored by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) marks bill’s first-ever Senate introduction

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Health Equity and Access under the Law (HEAL) for Immigrant Women and Families Act to expand immigrants’ access to crucial and comprehensive health care, with support from more than 250 organizations. This year marks the bill’s first-ever introduction in the Senate, and it comes at a time when it is abundantly clear that health coverage and care are critical for every person, family, and community.

The HEAL Act would open access to care by removing the five-year bar that immigrants must wait before becoming eligible for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). It would enable undocumented immigrants to purchase health insurance plans from the online marketplace made available by the Affordable Care Act and restore Medicaid eligibility to Compact of Free Association (COFA) migrants.

Insured rates are considerably lower among non–U.S. citizens, including both documented and undocumented immigrants. Barriers to health coverage disproportionately harm immigrant women, who make up the majority of immigrants and are particularly likely to have low incomes and be young and uninsured. According to the Guttmacher Institute, nearly half of noncitizen immigrant women of reproductive age who would otherwise qualify for Medicaid are uninsured.

“COVID-19 has shined a punishing light on the unjust health care inequities that exist for communities of color broadly, and immigrant communities in particular,” said U.S. Senator Cory Booker. “While we should always be working to expand access to health care for everyone, the dire current situation highlights the urgency of addressing these gaps in health care coverage. Health care is a right, and it shouldn’t depend on immigration status. We’re never going to be able to slow and stop the spread of the virus if we continue to deny entire communities access to testing, treatment, or care.”

“If it isn’t affordable, then health care just isn’t accessible. For years, policy decisions about our health have forced immigrant women to fend for ourselves,” said Sung Yeon Choimorrow, executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum. “Now, more than ever, it’s clear that every person should be able to get health care no matter how long they have been in the U.S. or the status they have been granted. Asian American and Pacific Islander women have been leading the charge for this groundbreaking legislation because our lived experiences show that access to the health care that is central to our agency and our lives, our families, and our communities.”

“Everyone needs access to the full range of reproductive health care to live with dignity and thrive. The current pandemic has placed a spotlight on the inequities in healthcare access that many Latinas/xs, people of color, people with low incomes and im/migrants face,” said Ann Marie Benitez, senior director of government relations at National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice. “At the Latina Institute, we are proud to have been in the forefront among the leaders driving the push for the HEAL for Immigrant Women and Families Act, and we applaud Sen. Cory Booker for introducing this bold legislation that would extend healthcare coverage to all im/migrant families, regardless of their documentation status or how long they have been living in the U.S. Healthcare is a human right, and the HEAL for Immigrant Women and Families Act is a step forward in expanding healthcare coverage.”

“The current pandemic has emphasized that while Black immigrants continue to risk their lives at the frontlines of the crisis, many are unable to access lifesaving testing and treatment. The HEAL for Immigrant Women and Families Act moves us closer to rightfully seeing healthcare as a human right rather than a luxury,” said Catherine Labiran, Gender Justice Program coordinator at the Black Alliance for Just Immigration. “Not only does the five-year waiting period for Medicaid result in the manifestation of preventable medical conditions, it also impacts the quality of care that people receive after that point. With a lack of medical history in the U.S., many experience misdiagnoses and have to advocate for themselves so that their concerns are heard and acted upon.”

“In these difficult times, it is abundantly clear that our personal health and well-being are interdependent with our neighbors’, coworkers’, and society’s at large,” said Kamal Essaheb, deputy director of the National Immigration Law Center. “NILC is proud to support the HEAL Act and hold it up as an example of the kind of policy solutions Congress should be passing right now. Protecting the health and well-being of immigrants will ensure the health and well-being of us all.”

# # #

The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) is the only multi-issue, progressive, community organizing and policy advocacy organization for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and girls in the U.S. NAPAWF’s mission is to build collective power so that all AAPI women and girls can have full agency over our lives, our families, and our communities.

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice (the Latina Institute) is the only national reproductive justice organization dedicated to building Latina/x power to advance health, dignity, and justice for 29 million Latinas/xs, their families, and communities in the United States through leadership development, community mobilization, policy advocacy, and strategic communications.

Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) educates and engages African American and Black immigrant communities to organize and advocate for racial, social and economic justice. Local BAJI Organizing Committees in New York, Georgia, California and Arizona build coalitions and initiate campaigns among communities to push for racial justice. At the local and regional level, BAJI provides training and technical assistance to partner organizations to develop leadership skills, works with faith communities to harness their prophetic voice, and initiates vibrant dialogues with African Americans and Black immigrants to discover more about race, our diverse identities, racism, migration and globalization.

Founded in 1979, the National Immigration Law Center is the leading advocacy or­ganization in the United States exclusively dedicated to defending and advancing the rights and opportunities of low-income immigrants and their loved ones. NILC’s mission is grounded in the belief that everyone living in the U.S. — regardless of race, gen­der/gender identity, immigration, and economic status — should have equal access to justice, resources, and educational and economic opportunities that enable them to achieve their full human potential. NILC is committed to advancing its mission — which intersects race, immigration status, and class — through a racial, economic, and gender justice and equity orientation. NILC seeks to achieve just laws and policies that address systemic inequities, create narrative and culture change for an inclusive and equitable society, and build a healthier and more powerful movement.

NILC Statement Regarding $3 Trillion HEROES Act Relief Package

FOR IMMEDIATE  RELEASE
May 14, 2020

CONTACT
Email: [email protected]
Juan Gastelum, 213-375-3149
Hayley Burgess, 202-805-0375

National Immigration Law Center (NILC) Statement Regarding $3 Trillion HEROES Act Relief Package

WASHINGTON — Tomorrow, the U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, a $3 trillion package to provide additional economic relief amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Kamal Essaheb, deputy director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:

“Tomorrow, the House is set to vote on its fifth COVID-19 relief bill, which would finally give crucial relief to immigrant communities that were unacceptably left out before.

“This bill is an important step toward recognizing that the only way we’ll get through this crisis and rebuild stronger is if everyone, including immigrants, has access to the financial and health care support they need. This bill provides for access to free COVID-19 testing and care as well as any eventual vaccines, and it provides that immigrant taxpayers previously left out in relief bills — including millions of spouses and parents of U.S. citizens — will finally receive stimulus checks.

“The bill also provides that millions of immigrants, including those with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and temporary protected status (TPS), continue to have protection from deportation and the ability to go to work, provide for their families, and help keep our communities running. Further, it would protect — and likely save — immigrant lives by seeking to release at least some of the tens of thousands of immigrants languishing in unsafe and inhumane civil detention custody.

“We recognize that the bill could have gone further in ensuring that immigrant communities can safely access health care and critical services — for example, by suspending the ‘public charge’ wealth test, stopping civil immigration actions that create fear and barriers to vital support, and prioritizing more people for release from detention. However, this bill takes important steps forward, and we call on Congress to move quickly and make sure these important provisions are part of any final relief bill.

“Every day, like so many Americans, people from our immigrant communities show up and play essential roles in caring for us through this unprecedented pandemic. We can no longer afford to wait for relief. The only way our country will get through this crisis is by ensuring that all Americans have the support and care we need, no matter what any of us looks like, how much money we make, or where we were born.”

# # #

National and State Immigrants’ Rights Leaders and Meatpacking Workers and Their Families Come Together to Address Worker Safety Amidst COVID-19 Crisis

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 6, 2020

CONTACT
Hayley Burgess, [email protected], 202-805-0375
Hamp Price, TIRRC, [email protected]
Jack Norman, Voces, [email protected]

National and State Immigrants’ Rights Leaders and Meatpacking Workers and Their Families Come Together to Address Worker Safety Amidst COVID-19 Crisis

WASHINGTON, DC — In meatpacking plants across the country, immigrants and people of color are facing disproportionate COVID-19 infection rates as plants are increasingly confirmed hotspots for COVID-19. As essential workers who are on the frontlines confronting COVID-19, plant employees who are compelled to show up for work each day are at greater risk of occupational exposure and death from the virus. On a press call yesterday afternoon, national and state immigrants’ rights leaders came together with meatpacking workers and their families to address this ongoing crisis and outline the changes that government officials and corporations must make to ensure workers’ safety.

“This pandemic has exposed the historical racial inequities of our health, immigration, and labor/employment systems, which means that immigrants and other workers of color are impacted by COVID-19 on a greater scale. Workers have the right to be safe and healthy when reporting to work each day — not just during a crisis. When deprived of these rights, it affects everyone in the workplace. And as we are seeing now, it can have consequences to our supply chain and throughout the communities where meatpacking workers live,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. “We cannot think of healthy employees and a resilient supply chain as two separate issues. We will continue to fight alongside workers to demand they receive access to health care, COVID-19 testing, treatment and care, as well as financial relief and protections in the workplace.”

Guadalupe Páez, a Wisconsin meat processing plant worker who recently recovered from COVID-19 said, “I’m angry at how I was treated, because they didn’t want to believe that I was sick, they just told me ‘you have a cold.’ It’s a message to my coworkers and other workers that we have to raise our voices so that our concerns are heard. I believe that we have a right to speak out, but there are many people who remain silent — but we have the right to speak out. My message to the workers is that your life is above work.”

“People are really afraid. You’re forcing them to make a choice between their life and this job. Workers see what’s happening, and in the case of Mr. Páez, his life was at stake,” said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera. “We need companies and the government to step up to support immigrant essential workers. Constant vigilance is required to do the follow-through and have the kind of public pressure and governmental agency support to fundamentally value the lives of these essential workers and their families. Today not only are we celebrating the fact that Mr. Páez and Dora (his daughter) are reunited as survivors, but because of their courage, right now, at both these companies all of the workers’ demands have been met. Their demands should be mandatory guidelines, and there should be mandatory guidelines about higher-quality masks and significant improvement in essential workplaces before we even talk about putting everybody back to work.”

“Workers in these plants are incredibly dedicated and work hard to provide for their families. Unfortunately, their employers have taken advantage of them and created a culture where workers are unsafe and feel they have no voice to speak up,” said Alejandro Murguia-Ortiz, an organizer on behalf of meatpacking workers and their families in Iowa. “Because of this, I and many of the children of these workers are hoping to bring awareness and support for them so we can hold these companies accountable and help empower workers  to share their stories.”

“Now more than ever, it is abundantly clear that our personal health and well-being are interdependent with our neighbors’, coworkers’, and communities’. This means no worker should have to put themselves at risk of getting ill in order to provide for their family,” said Stephanie Teatro, co-director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition. “Workers in the food processing industry have always been essential, and we must ensure that all workers, no matter where they’re from or how they got here, are protected and safe at work.”

###

Recording of the press call: https://www.nilc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/IMMIGRANTS-2020-05-05.mp3

The National Immigration Law Center’s (NILC’s) Winning in the States initiative aims to tangibly improve the lives of immigrants in the communities where they live and to help change the national narrative about immigration. NILC is investing in building power in these communities to accelerate the progress being made, and we are creating a structure for advocates across the country to share resources and support each other so that, together, we can ensure that every immigrant living in the United States can feel safe and supported in their community. Learn more at www.nilc.org.

550+ Advocates Say Coronavirus Response Undermined by Excluding Immigrant Families

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 2020

CONTACT
Hayley Burgess, [email protected], 202-805-0375
Tom Salyers, [email protected], 202-906-8002

550+ Advocates Say Coronavirus Response Undermined by Excluding Immigrant Families

WASHINGTON, DC — More than 550 advocacy organizations from all over the United States sent a letter Tuesday urging congressional leadership to deliver coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response legislation that extends health care and economic support to all families, including immigrant families. The letter, signed by 561 organizations, was coordinated by the National Immigration Law Center and the Center on Law and Social Policy. It warns that continued failure to address the health and economic stability of immigrant families will “greatly undermine the nation’s ability to overcome this unprecedented crisis.”

More than a dozen national health care provider and advocacy groups signed the letter. Provider groups include the National Medical Association, the National Hispanic Medical Association, the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, and the National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians. Advocates include Families USA, Community Catalyst, and Health Care for America Now.

“It’s simple — if immigrant families can’t get the health care they need, we are all at risk,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. “Immigrants are among the essential workers helping to lead America’s fight against COVID-19 — caring for the sick, harvesting our food, delivering packages, and transporting critical supplies — yet Congress has failed to protect immigrant families from the health and economic threat of COVID-19. Immigrant families will be key drivers of our nation’s recovery from this pandemic and should be included in any future relief packages.”

“Hundreds of leading health provider and advocacy voices agree — Congress must address the needs of immigrant families,” said Olivia Golden, executive director of the Center on Law and Social Policy. “But every day they delay puts all of us at risk. Congress must act now to ensure that everyone, regardless of where they people were born, everyone can access economic support, workplace protections, health care, and other support they need to thrive.”

The letter names specific policy changes required for an inclusive and effective COVID-19 response:

  • Halting implementation of public charge regulations that deter immigrant families from getting needed health care and assistance
  • Making health care is available regardless of a person’s immigration status, income or categorical eligibility, with COVID-19-related care covered through Medicaid
  • Increased funding for Community Health Centers, free and charitable clinics, school-based health centers, and critical access hospitals, which are essential providers in many immigrant and low-income communities
  • Delivery of information about COVID-19, health care options, and public programs in multiple languages and through trusted community providers, with interpretation services funding
  • Tax rebates for filers who use an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, as well as those who use a Social Security number
  • Extending nutrition assistance programs such as the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) to immigrant families, and extending the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program through the summer of 2020

Many of these policies are incorporated in the Coronavirus Immigrant Families Protection Act, introduced by Rep. Judy Chu (H.R. 6437) and Sen. Mazie Hirono (Senate bill number not yet assigned). Legislation, also sponsored by Rep. Chu, to block implementation of the “public charge” regulations has 124 cosponsors in the House of Representatives.

Research confirms that the Trump administration’s public charge regulation has deterred immigrant families from seeking health care assistance. Since it was implemented in February, public health officials have warned that public charge and other Trump anti-immigrant policies undermine the nation’s response to COVID-19. Experts have also warned that immigrant families and other families of color face additional barriers to care and economic resilience, as well as disproportionate impact from both the health and economic consequences of COVID-19. Yet response packages enacted with bipartisan support in Congress have left immigrant families out of COVID-19–related health care and economic assistance.

###

New Documents Reveal ICE Access to DACA Recipients’ Information

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 2020

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, [email protected], 213-375-3149
Yatziri Tovar, [email protected], 917-771-2818
José Alonso Muñoz, [email protected], 202-810-0746

New Documents Reveal ICE Access to DACA Recipients’ Information

NEW YORK, NY — As immigrant youth await a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on the unlawful termination of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), documents obtained by Make the Road New York and Make the Road Connecticut through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Trump administration reveal that information DACA applicants shared in confidence in their applications can be accessed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The news organization ProPublica revealed this new information publicly today in a new article. The documents reveal that ICE has broad access to DACA information submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) through direct access to USCIS databases and the ability to obtain DACA recipients’ complete files. The new documents contradict multiple past declarations by USCIS — on the DACA application form instructions, on its website, and in lawsuits — that information provided with a DACA application is protected from disclosure to ICE for immigration enforcement except in limited circumstances.

Make the Road New York and Make the Road Connecticut, represented by the National Immigration Law Center, filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the federal government hoping to shed light on the motives behind the administration’s decision to terminate the DACA program.

“I applied for DACA and shared my information because USCIS assured me that my information would be protected. It is deeply alarming to know that, under Trump, the deportation machine of ICE has access to this information,” said Carolina Fung Feng, plaintiff in Wolf v. Batalla Vidal, and member of Make the Road New York. “This new information makes it even clearer that if the Supreme Court decides to side with the Trump administration, it will put hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth like me at grave risk. USCIS must commit to stop information-sharing with ICE and not be complicit to Trump’s plan to separate us from our communities. And, in the next recovery negotiations, Congress must act to automatically extend protections for DACA and TPS holders.”

“These new documents provide further evidence of just how out of control Trump’s deportation machine is,” said Barbara Lopez, director of Make the Road Connecticut. “When undocumented youth provided their personal information, USCIS vowed it would not share its information for immigration enforcement purposes. Now we know that, under the Trump administration, ICE has access. As DACA recipients await a decision by the Supreme Court, we demand USCIS commit to end all personal information-sharing with ICE. We must continue to fiercely fight for our communities, and against the deportation and separation of our loved ones.”

“The information reveals what organizers have known for years: the deportation force’s only aim is to keep immigrants looking over our shoulders, living with the fear that the deportation agents would separate us from our families,” said Cynthia Garcia, DACA recipient and deportation defense manager at United We Dream. “The documents also make it crystal clear that the consequence of the Supreme Court potentially siding with Trump on the DACA cases is detention and deportation. But our community is resilient, and an informed community is a powerful one. That is why we will ensure that more immigrants know their rights. The Trump administration has expanded and weaponized ICE and CBP to target, detain, and deport all immigrants, but DACA recipients and our families can take measures to protect ourselves. Our families can download the Notifica app to create a contingency plan for potential interactions with immigration enforcement, and also call United We Dream’s MigraWatch Hotline (1-844-363-1423) to report ICE activity in their community.”

“DHS has consistently promised DACA applicants that it would protect their sensitive personal information from immigration enforcement purposes, with very limited exceptions,” said Trudy Rebert, staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center. “The documents we obtained disturbingly show that ICE can nevertheless access information submitted in DACA applications through shared electronic systems or by ordering it from records — ICE does not appear to have to rely on USCIS to proactively provide the information. We continue to seek more detailed information about the magnitude and impact of this information-sharing. We must ensure that DACA applicants’ information is protected.”

###

Coronavirus Immigrant Families Protection Act Targets Crucial Gaps in COVID-19 Relief Legislation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 3, 2020

CONTACT
Email: [email protected]
Juan Gastelum, 213-375-3149
Hayley Burgess, 202-805-0375

Coronavirus Immigrant Families Protection Act Targets Crucial Gaps in COVID-19 Relief Legislation

WASHINGTON, DC — Members of Congress today introduced legislation, the Coronavirus Immigrant Families Protection Act, that would address urgent needs in immigrant communities not addressed in previous relief packages enacted in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis.

The bill, sponsored by Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) in the U.S. Senate and Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), and Lou Correa (D-CA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, would suspend implementation of the Trump administration’s “public charge” policy; ensure that COVID-19–related services are available to uninsured individuals, regardless of their immigration status; extend economic support to millions of immigrant families excluded from relief in the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act; and prohibit enforcement agencies from carrying out immigration enforcement in locations, such as hospitals and health care centers, where people seek care.

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

“Immigrants are on the frontlines confronting this public health crisis as workers in the health care sector and as the indispensable people who harvest and prepare our food, deliver our groceries, and care for our loved ones. If we truly want to win this fight against a pandemic that doesn’t discriminate based on a person’s wealth, race, or place of birth, we need Congress to pass policies that ensure immigrants are part of the solution and also receive the health care and economic support everyone needs to get through this crisis.

“The bill  introduced today addresses crucial gaps left in the relief legislation enacted thus far and provides that we all will have access to crucial testing, health care, and economic lifelines. I commend these leaders and other members of Congress who are advancing a more inclusive and equitable vision for America that acknowledges the role of immigrants as protagonists in our recovery from this global catastrophe.”

###

NILC Statement Regarding $2 Trillion COVID-19 Package

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2020

CONTACT
Email: [email protected]
Juan Gastelum, 213-375-3149
Hayley Burgess, 202-805-0375

National Immigration Law Center (NILC) Statement Regarding $2 Trillion COVID-19 Package

WASHINGTON — Late Wednesday evening, the U.S. Senate passed a $2 trillion deal to provide economic relief amidst the growing COVID-19 pandemic.

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

“Senate Democrats fought for key improvements from a prior version of the COVID-19 relief package introduced by Senate Republicans, who are operating with a ‘business as usual’ attitude in prioritizing corporations over people and continuing to demonize and exclude immigrants.

“Nevertheless, this bill still falls woefully short of meeting the most basic health care and economic needs of millions of Americans. Immigrant workers and families who are paying taxes have been cut out from receiving a single dollar. While it provides for crucial unemployment insurance benefits and funding for medical care, the bill shamefully excludes millions of immigrants and their families from coverage for COVID-19 testing and treatment or economic assistance, even as many are on the front lines working to confront the pandemic. It is both reckless from a public health perspective and disgraceful that our congressional leaders are refusing to extend the same relief to immigrant communities, many of whose members will play an essential role in our recovery as a nation.

“With Senate Republicans now planning to leave for a month-long recess, we call on House Democrats to demand that the final legislation include crucial relief for immigrants. Since no other relief package appears imminent, the stakes are high for millions of low-wage workers and immigrants, who also need economic support and access to health care. Any deal that leaves them out jeopardizes us all.”

# # #

NILC Reacts to Coronavirus Phase 3 Legislation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 19, 2020

CONTACT
Hayley Burgess, [email protected], 202-805-0375

NILC Reacts to Coronavirus Phase 3 Legislation

WASHINGTON — On Thursday, March 19, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced emergency stimulus legislation to address the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.

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

“The coronavirus phase 3 legislation introduced in the Senate is not a product of bipartisan negotiations. This is another gift to corporations that leaves out millions of tax-paying immigrants, many of whom have family members who are U.S. citizens. Our nation is facing a pandemic that does not discriminate and threatens to wipe out people’s livelihoods and devastate our economy. It is unconscionable that the Republican-controlled Senate continues to play politics with the health and well-being of Americans. We are all at risk when millions are left behind.

“As we grapple with the far-reaching implications of this public health crisis, immigrants are on the front lines delivering groceries, harvesting produce for our meals, working in the health care sector, and caring for our loved ones. Economic stimulus that excludes immigrants who are working and paying taxes leaves us all vulnerable. We look to our leaders in Congress to address this inequality and ensure that any relief package provides help for all members of our community, including the most vulnerable among us.

“Among the most important lessons of this pandemic is that we are all interdependent. This is not a time for partisanship but a time for courageous leaders to unite across party lines for our collective well-being and to ensure that we are all safe, healthy, and have the economic means not only to survive but to thrive.”

###

NILC Responds to Enactment of the Families First Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 18, 2020

CONTACT
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.”

###

No Muslim Ban Ever Coalition Responds to House Decision to Delay Vote on NO BAN Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 12, 2020

CONTACT
NILC: Hayley Burgess, [email protected], 202-805-0375
AAAJ – Asian Law Caucus: Sabrina Chin, [email protected], 415-351-9737

No Muslim Ban Ever Coalition Responds to House Decision to Delay Vote on NO BAN Act

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the U.S. House of Representatives removed from its calendar a scheduled vote on the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants (NO BAN) Act. The legislation would immediately repeal prior versions of President Trump’s Muslim ban, including the most recent expanded ban that most heavily impacts Africans, one that specifically targets refugees, and one that targets asylum-seekers arriving at the border. It would also change immigration law to prohibit discrimination based on religion and limit the power of this administration or any future president to enact similar bans.

The decision to delay the vote comes as Congress is shifting its attention to a plan to respond to the COVID-19 virus. In response, the coalition’s anchor organizations released the following statements:

Marielena Hincapie, executive director at the National Immigration Law Center, says:
“After three years of Trump’s Muslim ban, we know that any delay furthers the harm done to Muslim-American families and communities who have already suffered significantly. We remain steadfast in our commitment to seeing the bill through in its complete, unaltered form. We urge members of Congress who have championed the bill and House leadership to continue to publicly commit to this as well. The Trump administration has demonstrated a reckless and cruel abuse of power by issuing bans that target Muslims, Africans, refugees, and asylum-seekers for the sole purpose of shutting out communities of color, fulfilling Trump’s signature and racist campaign promises. When our representatives return from recess, it is crucial that they make this a priority and immediately schedule a vote to pass the NO BAN Act. The time to act is now.”

Zahra Billoo, executive director of the San Francisco-Bay Area chapter of the Council on  American-Islamic Relations, states:
“Though disappointing, the delay in voting on the NO BAN Act  will not undermine our work with our partners in Congress, the presidential campaigns, and grassroots communities to overcome Donald Trump’s bigoted immigration agenda. This has gone on far too long, separating families, slowing access to medical care, undercutting academic and professional opportunities, all while propagating xenophobia. We call on Congress to move quickly to reschedule this vote and pass the NO BAN Act. Our communities, their constituents, expect no less.”

Linda Sarsour, executive director of MPower Change, states:
“For years we’ve organized, shared our stories, and made sure our calls to repeal the ban were heard. From the moment the first Muslim ban was issued, to last month’s expansion, our Muslim and immigrant communities have continued to lead us all towards the passing of legislation that can repeal this racist ban once and for all. Despite today’s decision to delay the NO BAN Act vote, we will continue to build with House leadership to ensure it passes without any weakening amendments in the coming weeks, and we will continue to rally around those in our Muslim, immigrant, and African communities who face the burden of this horrific ban daily.”

Aarti Kohli, executive director representing Asian Americans Advancing Justice, states:
While we applaud the efforts of House members supporting the NO BAN Act, let us not forget that with each passing day, families continue to be separated unjustly from their loved ones, those needing urgent medical care continue to suffer, and those fleeing persecution continue to be denied refuge. Our communities have waited long enough. Any delay in the House vote further deepens the suffering of our Muslim and immigrant communities. Conflating a public health concern with a xenophobic immigration policy only mirrors the very racism and Islamophobia the Muslim ban was premised on. It is critical that House members pass the NO BAN Act to stop the assault on our Muslim and immigrant neighbors as soon as possible. Separated families depend on it.”

About No Muslim Ban Ever Coalition (NMBE)
The #NoMuslimBanEver campaign, endorsed by over 200 organizations, represents a diverse community of Muslim, Arab, and South Asian organizations and allies in progressive, faith, immigrant, asylum, refugee, and civil rights sectors who came together in response to the Trump administration’s persistent efforts to ban individuals from Muslim-majority countries as part of its larger xenophobic, white nationalist agenda of exclusion. Please visit www.NoMuslimBanEver.com for more information.

###

111