Frank Sharry: “At a time when immigrants across America are pulling their weight on behalf of all of us, it’s imperative that we as a nation treat them as essential members of the American family. All of us should mean all of us.”
The HEROES Act, introduced yesterday by Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats, is important legislation that recognizes that the best way to promote the health and safety of all Americans is to include all essential workers and all American families in our response to the virus. This includes treating immigrant workers and their families with dignity and as part of our national recovery effort.
Among its important provisions, the HEROES Act includes measures that ensure that DACA, TPS, and essential workers can continue working in vital roles on the frontlines of COVID-19 response; ensures broader access to COVID-19 testing, treatment, and health care, regardless of immigration status; and recognizes that taxpaying families that include both U.S. citizens and non-citizens should be eligible for inclusion in direct relief and recovery efforts.
The HEROES Act also recognizes that more than 100,000 of our family members, neighbors, and co-workers have been approved for naturalization ceremonies, which are currently halted by the Trump administration. The legislation would ensure that these Americans-in-waiting can pledge allegiance to the American flag and take the oath of citizenship at new remote naturalization ceremonies.
Together, these measures strengthen the stability and safety of American communities and neighborhoods and recognize the reality that essential workers of all kinds – immigrants, mixed status families, refugees and DACA and TPS holders – bolster the safety and economic well-being of all Americans.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
The HEROES Act is urgently-needed legislation for a nation in crisis. The way forward for our country is to rise as one America, and to include one and all, regardless of birthplace and background, in our response. In a public health crisis, we are only as strong as our weakest link. The quest for unity and inclusion isn’t a soft, gauzy aspiration, it’s a hard, pragmatic necessity.
Thanks to Speaker Pelosi and the House Democrats, the HEROES Act gets it right. In addition to its many excellent features, the legislation recognizes that it is essential we treat immigrants as essential.
Immigrant workers and families throughout America are on the front-lines, doing their part and risking their lives. They make up a disproportionate share of the officially-designated essential workers. They plant, pick and pack our food. They clean, care, serve and deliver. They serve as doctors, nurses and first responders.
At a time when immigrants across America are pulling their weight on behalf of all of us, it’s imperative that we as a nation treat them as essential members of the American family. All of us should mean all of us.