COVID-19

STATEMENT: “Emergency rescue” package passed in Senate primarily rescues corporations and excludes immigrant communities

By March 26, 2020 No Comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2020

CONTACT: Sam Yu | syu@nakasec.org | 213-703-0992

“Emergency rescue” package passed in Senate primarily rescues corporations and excludes immigrant communities

House of Representatives is expected to vote on package tomorrow; we call upon our congressional leaders to include immigrant communities.

Chicago, IL –  The $2 trillion coronavirus emergency legislation passed by the U.S. Senate, and expected to pass by voice vote in the House of Representatives tomorrow, largely benefits wealthy corporations and fails communities that are most impacted by the pandemic – incarcerated and undocumented communities, families, and low-wage workers.

Although framed as an “economic rescue package,” the legislation in reality bails out corporations, imposing few regulations on stock buybacks, lobbying, and worker retention. Moreover, the Trump administration will now gain control over a $500 billion slush fund that Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnunchin could funnel at will into corporate bottom lines.

Meanwhile, incarcerated and undocumented communities have little to no access to the so-called “economic rescue” provisions. Individuals without Social Security Numbers (SSNs) are excluded from direct cash assistance, with a very limited exception for military families. That is, to obtain the direct cash assistance, everyone in the family must have a SSN; a child with a SSN would not be able to obtain the cash assistance if a parent is undocumented–and if a married couple files taxes jointly and one person is undocumented, both are disqualified from assistance. Furthermore, noncitizens who are not work authorized do not qualify for unemployment insurance. And yet, according to the Migration Policy Institute, 5.1 million U.S. children under age 18 live with at least one undocumented parent , and 79 percent, or 4.1 million of the 5.1 million are U.S. citizens. Thus, these exclusions elide the reality that immigrants are the backbone of our communities and economies.

The coronavirus will not discriminate, even if our U.S. Senate does. In the House of Representatives’ voice vote tomorrow, we call upon our congressional leaders to include immigrant communities. We demand from our leaders:

– Provide free COVID-19 relief, testing and care for all
– Suspend practices and policies that further endanger immigrant communities, like ICE enforcement and the public charge rule
– Expand unemployment insurance and cash payments to all people, including self-employed individuals and immigrants who pay taxes using an ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number); and,
– Automatically extend protection for DACA recipients and TPS holders to ensure that our frontline workers in this pandemic have stability and the ability to stay safe, in light of the impending termination of both programs.

In this pandemic that only exacerbates existing structures of inequality, we must do our part to stand by our communities. We call upon Congress to join us in this fight for the health and wellbeing of all communities.

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Founded in 1994, the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC)’s mission is to organize Korean and Asian Americans to achieve social, economic, and racial justice.