The COVID-19 public health crisis has affected everyone living and working in the United States, no matter where they were born. The responses to this pandemic must address the needs of all community members, regardless of their immigration status, and it must recognize that federal, state, and local action will all play a role. Congressional action will help millions of people, but the federal laws enacted so far have left many people behind, and they have addressed only some of the ways people’s lives have been upended.
State and local advocates have urged policymakers to tackle the disproportionate harm to low-income communities of color, as the crisis exacerbates inequities based on race, gender, class, and wealth. Well-established organizations and new coalitions have demanded crucial reforms and systemic transformations. When income losses threatened the ability of individuals and families to remain in their homes, advocates worked to get eviction moratoriums and the suspension of rent collection in hard-hit cities. When evidence revealed that people in jails, prisons, and immigrant detention are particularly at risk, advocates demanded that law enforcement and public officials release people from these facilities or advocate for the federal government to do so.
This report explores immigrant-inclusive economic justice policy opportunities for state and local advocates to pursue in their communities. So far, programs that provide financial assistance have left many immigrants without the support they need to weather this storm. Restrictive federal policies and immigration enforcement actions have thwarted the nation’s ability to protect public health. Although every community’s health depends on everyone in it being healthy, many immigrant families have been unable to obtain necessary COVID-19 testing and care. Finally, as workers, including many immigrants, continue to work during the crisis, inadequate workplace protections place many at risk of becoming sick as they provide services essential to our well-being and survival. Advocates and organizers across the country are taking leadership in building a response that is inclusive of all community members.
View the full contents of the report here.