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Stories Illustrate How HEROES Act Addresses Problems Facing American Families in the Age of COVID-19

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As we highlighted yesterday, the HEROES Act introduced by Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats 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.

Today, several powerful columns make the case for why provisions in the HEROES Act are so important: specifically, measures that ensure that DACA, TPS, and essential workers can continue working in vital roles on the frontlines of COVID-19 response; that recognize that taxpaying families that include both U.S. citizens and non-citizens should be eligible for inclusion in direct relief efforts; and that ensure that more than 100,000 Americans-in-waiting can take the oath of citizenship at new remote naturalization ceremonies.

Below find columns lifting up why several of the HEROES provisions matter to real families:

    • Stability for DACAmented ICU nurse treating Covid-19 patients in North Carolina. A piece in the Armenian Reporter profiles Jonathan Vargas Andres, an ICU nurse treating Covid-19 patients in Winston-Salem, NC. But waiting for a Supreme Court decision is wearing on him. The column quotes Jonathan: “’I try not to think about it because if I think about it for too long I get tired,’ Jonathan says. ‘I’ve basically had to zone it out for my own health.’ He speaks intentionally in a gentle, southern drawl. ‘It’s fear more than anything.’”
    • In a column for Forbes,  Stuart Anderson details how Trump’s immigration policies are delaying citizenship ceremonies for over 100,000 immigrants. Anderson lifts up a study by Boundless Immigration which says, “This delay has already left well over 100,000 future Americans in limbo. These would-be citizens have already made it through most of the naturalization process. Now they must wait, perhaps indefinitely, before they can become full citizens and gain the right to vote in the 2020 election. If USCIS does not resume interviews and oath ceremonies using remote methods appropriate for the present emergency, the number of disenfranchised citizens-in-waiting will continue to pile up.”
    • A Washington Post column by Theresa Vargas highlights the plight of mixed status families, “One family’s experience with the ‘unfair’ math of our country: Four U.S. citizens plus one who is not equals zero stimulus funds” The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) estimates that the punitive exclusionary measures in the previous CARES Act leaves out “nearly 5.5 million U.S. citizens and green-card holders.” The HEROES Act would correct this. Vargas’s column highlights one family that is a reminder why fixing this is so important. Vargas speaks to Ivania Amador, a mother in a mixed-status family, who says, “I am a citizen born here. I have three children born here. In every other sense, I have the title of ‘American.’ But because I married someone who isn’t, I got disqualified. I got excluded from something everyone else in this country wasn’t.”
    • In a segment for Telemundo, Alexandra, a nurse and US citizen married to an undocumented immigrant, speaks about immigration law. She tells Telemundo, “The law is discriminatory, it is racist. They don’t have the right to tell me who I can marry. The government has turned its back on me. I put myself at risk every day, and I have children in the house who depend on me.” The couple shares seven children together.