Editor: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress enacted three legislative packages to fortify the nation’s health care infrastructure, expand access to testing and treatment,
and promote economic recovery. And yet, immigrants were completely excluded from these legislative packages.
As a child of an immigrant family I have seen the trials and tabulations in trying to raise a family in a country that undervalues the workforce that has built this nation. Immigrants have continued to put themselves in danger because they know no other way. Always on the frontlines and here to serve our communities.
DACA recipients have now grown up and gone through high school, college, and university. They have joined parts of the work force that keep America safe from the pandemic by being part of the front lines, lawyers, and other essential industries while at the same time never knowing if they will have a tomorrow.
The next COVID-19 relief package must include direct economic stimulus to all workers, including ITIN filers, mixed-status families and dependents.
COVID-19 has made it increasingly difficult for work authorized immigrants, including DACA and TPS holders, to renew their status and work permits. Congress must automatically extend work permits and status for immigrants with employment authorization.
Lastly, Congress should demand that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) release all immigrants from detention that do not pose a threat to public safety or national security and prohibit immigration enforcement in all but the most exigent of circumstances until the end of the pandemic. Further, given the challenges posed in relation to access to legal counsel at this time, all deportations should be halted.
— Miguel Breceda, via [email protected]