A Dual Purpose Agenda: Government Uses Pandemic to Undermine Domestic Life of Undocumented Immigrants

Trump-to-suspend-US-immigration-in-fight-against-COVID-19

President Trump’s announcement of the suspension of legal immigration into the country is not an isolated issue.

For months now, the administration has been implementing, shall we say, “silent” strategies to asphyxiate the immigrant community, making it virtually impossible for them to survive a public health crisis such as the coronavirus.

We’re no longer talking about closing the southern border, expelling asylum seekers, slowing down procedures or massive ICE raids, but about the consequences of the Republican refusal to provide funding to undocumented immigrants in the country.

After the first economic stimulus package left out millions of small businesses and undocumented immigrants in general, the new package approved by the Senate this week will not provide any financial aid to undocumented students, according to Politico.

Of the $6 billion earmarked for colleges and students to help them deal with food, child care, and housing expenses, undocumented students will receive zero, thanks to new guidance from the Department of Education that stipulates “the money can go only to students who qualify for federal financial aid: U.S. citizens and some legal permanent residents.”

Similarly, and as reported by The Los Angeles Times, the 1.2 million Americans married to immigrants without Social Security numbers, who file joint tax returns and are not in the military, “are not eligible for stimulus checks.”

The government does not seem to care if these families are health workers, first responders, or “essential workers” in general, the important thing is that they are “non-citizens,” and therefore do not have access to any type of economic assistance.

The CARES Act provides a $1,200 check for citizens who earn up to $75,000 a year, and $500 for each child, but excludes millions of tax-paying immigrants who do not have legal status.

“It’s just fundamentally unfair, and it’s really, really targeted to hurt,” Randall Emery, president of American Families United, a nonprofit that advocates for U.S. citizens married to immigrants, told the Times.

“It’s such a basic thing that the government would protect its own citizens and the government is really abandoning U.S. citizens when they need help the most,” he added. “A lot of people really need this just to survive.”