The Next Coronavirus Bill Must Address Immigrants, Youth, Other Overlooked Populations

This statement can be attributed to Olivia Golden, executive director of the Center for Law and Social Policy.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act has now been signed into law. This legislation is a positive step forward in funding urgent public health priorities and getting financial support to states and to many individuals and families with low incomes. States must quickly move to implement this legislation in ways that get the most support to those disproportionately affected by the public health and economic crisis—including communities of color, incarcerated populations, and immigrant families—who face systemic barriers to getting the health services and economic supports they need.

As CLASP has stated, the bill is a critical first step in this public health and economic crisis but it falls short in many key respects. Congress should immediately get back to work to continue to respond to the enormous gaps that remain in responding to the burgeoning public health and economic crisis. The most important next steps include expanding health care and economic supports to millions of immigrants and their families. Without doing so, we are undermining the public health response and putting millions of families at risk of falling into poverty.

Federal policymakers must also include additional income supports and nutrition assistance to people with low incomes who are already being dramatically impacted by growing economic crisis. States, cities, and counties also need additional fiscal relief—including to sustain critical infrastructure such as child care and community colleges. Congress should also remedy the last-minute carve-outs in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which exclude of millions of workers from paid sick days and paid family and medical leave. We will need investments in workforce development and job creation to strengthen the economy and support workers once the public health crisis has ended. , We must also address those who were already facing inequities in access to economic opportunity before the current crisis—including youth and young adults, immigrant families, people impacted by the criminal justice system, and communities of color.