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Reps. Grijalva, Chu, Correa and Senators Hirono and Harris Introduce Coronavirus Immigrant Families Protection Act

TUCSON Today, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) and Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA) introduced the Coronavirus Immigration Families Protection Act. The bill would ensure that the relief authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is also available to immigrant families.

“Immigrant workers are working in many of the essential jobs keeping our communities and the economy running during this uncertain time,” Representative Grijalva said. “COVID-19 does not care about your immigration status,  so neither should our response. This legislation prohibits discrimination when accessing COVID-19 relief programs and focuses on getting important economic assistance to all families—regardless of their immigration status—while expanding the nation’s ability to control the virus and recover economically.”

In addition to allowing immigrants to access relief funds, the bill also halts the implementation of the public charge rule, appropriates money to the CDC to issue grants to community organizations working with COVID-19 in immigrant communities, and modifies current immigration policies that deter immigrants from seeking healthcare.

“As coronavirus has upended all our lives, we in Congress have rushed to provide the necessary relief to help our whole economy survive this crisis. But you cannot do that by excluding entire segments of the population. This virus does not care about immigration status. It does not discriminate and neither should we. Immigrants own businesses and homes, support families, and pay rent, and contribute to their communities. And most importantly, immigrants have the same healthcare needs we all do, but face restrictions or adverse actions if they access healthcare,” Representative Chu said. “That is simply wrong, especially during a pandemic. All immigrants should have access to healthcare, receive the same benefit we are sending to everyone else, and have the ability to work so they can stay healthy, afford food, and pay rent. That is why we have introduced this bill today to correct the gaps in previous legislation, and ensure everybody has an equal opportunity to survive this crisis.”

“I was appalled to learn hardworking, taxpaying immigrants were left out of the $2 trillion CARES Act. These taxpayers work in critical sectors of our economy, like agriculture, and contribute greatly to our country. While many of us sit at home, these hardworking immigrants are still at work in our hospitals, our fields, and countless other industries,” Representative Lou Correa said. “The coronavirus doesn’t care about a person’s wealth, job, or immigration status. By casing out immigrants, we are placing some of our most vulnerable residents in grave danger. Every individual taxpayer, irrespective of citizenship status, needs government assistance now.”

Companion legislation will be introduced by Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) in the Senate.

“The coronavirus does not discriminate based on immigration status, socio-economic status, or English-language proficiency, and neither should programs established to provide relief for people suffering during the pandemic,” Senator Hirono said. “In the face of an unprecedented public health and economic crisis, we must all come together to ensure that everyone in our communities, particularly the most vulnerable among us, have the support they need. That is how we are going to get through this pandemic. Together.”  

“This virus impacts everyone – it does not care about your race, your ethnicity, your gender, your age, or your immigration status,” Senator Harris said. “The Coronavirus Immigrant Families Protection Act would allow immigrants to have meaningful access to the vital resources they need during this crisis regardless of immigration status. No one should fear going to the grocery store or receiving care from the hospital.”

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