Will There Be Immigration Provisions in the Senate COVID-19 Relief Package?
By RJ Hauman | FAIR Take | July 2020
Our organization did not take a position, per se, on the first draft of the Senate Republican COVID-19 relief package – known as the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act. However, FAIR does support the desperately needed supplemental funding for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) already present in the current bill.
Unfortunately, bills of this magnitude often become embroiled in partisan political gamesmanship. Pet issues and ideological gambits often become sticking points in negotiations, something that is surely on the horizon. Expanding immigration and rewarding illegal immigration is unfortunately one of these issues. To that extent, FAIR would actively oppose if anything below makes its way into the final bill:
- The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act, which would give 40,000 unused green cards to foreign doctors and nurses (family members would also be able to come and not count against the cap). Despite what those behind the bill claim, it does not specify that the doctors and nurses must perform medical research and treatment related to COVID-19. This means that tens of thousands of foreign healthcare workers could enter the United States and have no measurable impact on fighting the pandemic, while taking jobs from unmatched American doctors and laid off nurses.
- The so-called American Citizen Coronavirus Relief Act, which would provide stimulus checks to almost 2 million "excluded Americans," including spouses of illegal aliens.
- Strings attached to emergency funding for USCIS, which is facing a pandemic-related $1.2 billion budget shortfall. Now is not the time to start a political battle over the fact that the agency is fee dependent, as well as the policy decisions some in this chamber disagree with.
We understand that this critical piece of legislation comes at a time when millions of Americans remain unemployed and businesses remain closed, all looking to Congress for needed relief. We hope its focus does not go astray.
Stay tuned over the next week as negotiations on Capitol Hill continue.