CHICAGO, March 18, 2020 — Statement attributed to Oscar Chacón, Executive Director of Alianza Americas.
“Alianza Americas applauds the Senate for passing a House-led bill today that could give much-needed relief to some families in the United States as the economy comes to standstill due to the Coronavirus epidemic. However, the approved package still leaves out far too many members of our communities. As legislators debate new phases of relief legislation, they must take all necessary steps to take care of our friends and neighbors in need. Additional legislation should take the opportunity to address some of the underlying inequalities that put immigrants and all working people at risk in the first place, and to undo the harmful laws that criminalize immigrants and make it impossible for them to access public assistance.
Any new assistance package should put people’s well-being first. It should not become a corporate giveaway of massive proportions. Lessons learned from the 2007 financial crisis should be applied now. Legislators must create inclusive coverage that will make sure everyone is tested, everyone is given emergency support for taking care of family members. This means that all people residing in the United States, independent of their migratory status must be able to access to testing and needed health care without fear of deportation.
If our policymakers are serious about keeping our communities safe, they also need to direct the Department of Homeland Security to stop deporting people and release them from immigration detention to avoid a massive outbreak of Coronavirus in the country’s detention centers and immigration facilities. The United States has the opportunity to take action now. If it fails to do so, it will be responsible for illness and death in the countries of origin of the deportees and for the health and life of millions of persons in US custody. We are undergoing a national emergency and these are the minimum measures needed to ensure the health and mitigate contagion for every person in the US.”
Alianza Americas is a network of 50 immigrant-led organizations representing more than 100,000 families across the United States. It is the only US-based organization rooted in Latino and Caribbean immigrant communities that works transnationally to create an inclusive, equitable, and sustainable way of life. Learn more at alianzaamericas.org.