North Carolina — The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina sent letters today urging Senators Burr and Tillis to expand COVID-19 testing, treatment, and much-needed COVID-19 relief in order to protect the health and future of the country. Public health experts have repeatedly recommended universal access to COVID-related testing and treatment to ensure the nation’s collective health.
Despite the fact that testing and treatment helps slow the spread of COVID-19, Congress has repeatedly left millions of immigrants, including many DACA recipients; Temporary Protected Status holders; domestic violence survivors and survivors of crime; green card holders; and undocumented people out of access to COVID-related testing and treatment. As Congress negotiates another bill, they must make COVID-19 related care available to everyone, as well as other critical forms of relief. The ACLU demands four improvements related to immigrants and the country’s future:
Testing and treatment for everyone who needs it via emergency Medicaid.
Cash assistance for anyone who files taxes, including those using Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers.
Automatic Employment Authorization Document extensions for those with DACA, Temporary Protected Status, and nonimmigrant visas.
Release of people in immigration detention and suspension of immigration enforcement actions.
The following is a statement from Chantal Stevens, Interim Executive Director:
“As numbers spike all over America and NC, our survival as a nation is at stake. Yet Senators Burr and Tillis have repeatedly failed to ensure testing and treatment for everyone who needs it. As a result, the options for people left out are limited, create confusion over eligibility, and fail to provide the care that we all deserve. Immigration status shouldn’t be a death sentence, but if Congress doesn’t act soon, it will continue to be.
“Months ago, the House passed the HEROES Act to remedy this issue, but the Senate has slow-walked further federal relief, while we all suffer. Senators Burr and Tillis, and the rest of the Senate must immediately build upon the House’s foundation to protect the health of the country by ensuring access to testing and treatment for everyone, regardless of immigration status. A national response that doesn’t ensure COVID-related care for everyone endangers all of our health. Members of Congress must pass a relief package that includes us all — our lives depend on it.”