WASHINGTON, DC—UnidosUS, the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization (formerly known as National Council of La Raza), and Voto Latino, a grassroots political organization focused on educating and empowering a new generation of Latinx voters, called on the Trump administration to suspend all immigration raids during the Coronavirus crisis and to make testing and treatment available to undocumented people to stop the spread of the virus and protect the health and safety of the American public.
While the organizations welcome Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)’s announcement that they will not conduct raids around medical facilities such as hospitals, thanks to the intervention and leadership of Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), we still believe that only a suspension of all indiscriminate enforcement raids will fully protect the public health and safety of all.
The organizations are especially alarmed by the apparent exploitation of the Coronavirus lockdown in Los Angeles by immigration and border authorities. These neighborhood raids, along with the Trump administration’s “public charge” rule that imposes a wealth test on all legal immigrants by discouraging them from seeking medical care they are eligible to receive, are counterproductive and will result in fewer people seeking testing and care, making mitigation efforts less effective.
“The reason they call this a public health crisis is because it impacts all the public. We can’t come together and stop COVID-19 if a large and vulnerable segment of society is afraid to come forward and fully participate in local, state and national efforts to combat the virus. The Coronavirus doesn’t care about ethnicity or immigration status. It is in every American’s interest, then, that everyone who needs it get tested, get care when needed, and take the necessary precautions and decisions to keep their families and communities safe and healthy,” says UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía.
“Now is the time to suspend ICE raids, as has been done in past crises like following Hurricanes Katrina, Matthew, Sandy and Harvey, as well as during the Flint Water Crisis,” says María Teresa Kumar, President and CEO of Voto Latino. “Now is the time to ensure that everyone in the country, regardless of immigration status, has access to testing and medical care. And now is the time to recognize that conducting indiscriminate immigration raids in the middle of a public health crisis isn’t just cruel and inhumane, it’s counterproductive—endangering the lives of everyone, including the ICE agents conducting the raids.”
Murguía and Kumar urged policymakers and public health officials to also call on the Trump administration to end indiscriminate raids while in the midst of this pandemic.
UnidosUS, previously known as NCLR (National Council of La Raza), is the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization. Through its unique combination of expert research, advocacy, programs, and an Affiliate Network of nearly 300 community-based organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico, UnidosUS simultaneously challenges the social, economic, and political barriers that affect Latinos at the national and local levels. For more than 50 years, UnidosUS has united communities and different groups seeking common ground through collaboration, and that share a desire to make our country stronger. For more information on UnidosUS, visit www.unidosus.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Voto Latino is a grassroots political organization focused on educating and empowering a new generation of Latinx voters, as well as creating a more robust and inclusive democracy. Through innovative digital campaigns, culturally relevant programs and authentic voices, we shepherd the Latinx community towards full realization of its political power.