The League of United Latin American (LULAC) leadership released the following statements on the legislation being negotiated in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate:
“Over the last few weeks we’ve seen that during a time of economic crisis, it is Latino, African American, immigrant and low-income workers across the nation who are disproportionately hurt and in most need,” stated LULAC National President Domingo Garcia. “The legislation being negotiated in the Senate is a step in the right direction to alleviate the economic hardships for millions of Americans who are struggling to make ends meet from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we are concerned about the farmworkers, undocumented workers, and legal residents who need to get help also. All working people in America — whose backbreaking labor sustains the entire US economy– need to be included in all of the unemployment and health protections being negotiated.”
LULAC National CEO Sindy Benavides issued the following statement:
“LULAC applauds the House Democrats’ stimulus plan under the leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi for directly addressing the needs of Latinos and all working people in this country. This legislation includes larger cash payments of $1,500 per person, expands unemployment insurance and paid sick leave, offers extra aid for small businesses in grants and interest-free loans to small businesses, including $300 billion in forgivable loans to cover short-term payroll costs, boosts funds to food banks by an extra $450 million, and whatever funds ‘necessary’ to account for more people in need of food stamps, and bans utility providers from cutting off service during the crisis. We will fight alongside House Democrats to ensure America’s working people are not forgotten. We demand that Republican Senators swiftly take action and stop playing politics with people’s lives especially as the death toll increases daily across the country due to COVID-19.”
LULAC has also demanded that the COVID-19 rescue bills being negotiated in Congress include the following:
Small Business Owners:
In the last decade, U.S. Latino-owned companies generated $470 billion in revenue and created 3.2 million jobs. Latino businesses are struggling to stay afloat. The American economy will suffer if Latino owned businesses suffer, many of which are small and medium-sized, are left without the same benefits corporations are poised to receive from a stimulus package.
Low-Wage Earners (Hotel, Restaurant, Hospitality, Cleaning, and other Service/Retail Workers, etc.):
Many low-wage workers in the retail and service industry who earn minimum wage face the difficult decision between risking catching the virus at work with no insurance or staying home without pay. This is not a choice that families should have to make.
Families and Children:
Latinos need aid to address keeping education, childcare, and school meal programs afloat. The impact on students who depend on a free or reduced-price school lunch is stark – we know that nearly 2 out 3 Latino children qualify for these programs. Latino families depend on these school meals to feed their families.
ICE recently announced that they will scale back enforcement efforts in the U.S. and will not carry out operations at or near health care facilities. LULAC has agreed that ICE should most certainly suspend raids, family separations, end the deportation of DACA recipients, and halt immigration hearings immediately.
The first detained immigrant tested positive for COVID-19 today. Those in ICE detention face great danger at this time. These detention centers can turn into death camps quickly since the spread of the disease is rampant and can easily get out of control. As such, LULAC has called on the Department of Justice to release non-violent detainees older than 50, those who are pregnant, or have underlying conditions such as a weakened immune system or heart or lung disease, on parole.
LULAC has called on legislators to represent the interests of all working families, including an estimated two to three million farmworkers who are employed across the United States. Farmworkers and ALL workers should be included in the COVID-19 rescue bills coming out of Congress. Farmworkers, who feed the entire country and world, earn poverty-level wages, work under substandard conditions and face a myriad of health and other issues due to their living and employment conditions.