H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)—signed into law on March 27, 2020—offers important benefits for the public health crisis caused by COVID-19. However, the bill fails to provide substantive, comprehensive financial relief for vulnerable families who now face economic challenges, such as unemployment and reduced work hours, as a result of the crisis. It excludes millions of undocumented residents and mixed status families from accessing critical financial relief. Furthermore, it prevents returning citizens from gaining relief.
The lessons of the Great Recession make plain the need to get out ahead of financial disruptions to avoid the needless compounding of losses to families and communities, irrespective of legal status. Black, Latino, other families of color and low-to-moderate income families are bearing the brunt and require more economic relief, including immigrant families of mixed status who are especially vulnerable as they cannot access federal financial assistance. More relief and protections are needed for families and small businesses to survive and not end up in a financially worse position.