COVID Stimulus Must Include Key Provisions to Ensure Equity


Latino advocacy group has called on President-elect Biden to provide relief to Latinos and immigrants disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and economic downturn.

In a policy plan sent to the Biden-Harris transition team in December, and on behalf of its network of 300 member and partner non-profit organizations, Hispanic Federation called on the new Administration to purposefully include Latino, Black, Indigenous, immigrant, and other communities of color in future COVID-19 relief packages and measures.

With President-elect Biden set to unveil a new COVID stimulus plan tonight, the national organization is once again highlighting the need for equitable recovery policies that address the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on immigrants and communities of color, including Latino families, workers, and children.

The organization highlights that Latinos have been leading in joblessness throughout the pandemic, with Latinas the most impacted among all groups. Latinos are also disproportionately represented among the low-wage workers who have faced layoffs, with businesses scaling back or closing as a result of the pandemic, and were already struggling with higher rates of financial insecurity and twice the rates of food insecurity as non-Hispanic whites.

According to a recent study published in Stanford Business Latino-owned businesses have less cash on hand and when requesting funding from the Payroll Protection Program, Latinos had their PPP loans approved at half the rate of white-owned businesses. The study also found Latino-owned businesses were also less likely to get their full funding relative to white owned-businesses, 3 percent compared to 7 percent.

Throughout the pandemic, Hispanic Federation has provided more than $14 million in emergency aid to Latino communities and small businesses. The organization highlights that much of the aid has gone to immigrant communities that have been largely shut out of previous COVID relief packages.

“We have seen first-hand how Latino and immigrant communities have been left out of COVID-19 relief from the government, even as they are working in essential jobs to keep the country moving forward,” said Laura Esquivel, Vice President of Federal Policy and Advocacy, Hispanic Federation. “If we don’t begin to align our recovery policies with the facts on the ground and the principle that we will all rise or fall together, we will never rebuild.”

In calling on the Biden-Harris Administration to respond proportionately to the needs of immigrant and Latino communities, Hispanic Federation also highlighted that a significant portion of the workers in essential and high-contact jobs are from these communities. This includes more than 5 million undocumented workers in various essential industries, 2.2 million Hispanic healthcare workers, as well as the 1 in 4 workers in the U.S. food supply chain who are Hispanic.

To address these and other issues, Hispanic Federation has recommended the following policies be adopted in future COVID-19 stimulus and recovery plans:

  • Include immigrants regardless of status, in all COVID-related relief packages, health care, and vaccination programs.
  • Ensure the well-being of farmworkers by including provisions of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, in any COVID-relief package directing financial assistance to employers to provide job security, pandemic premium pay, sick pay, family leave, carry out CDC recommendations, offer targeted nutrition assistance to farmworker communities, expand the eligibility for childcare programs and additional funding and flexibility for the Migrant and Seasonal Head Start program, and provide additional support for community health centers, particularly in rural and agricultural communities.
  • Incorporate in any COVID-19 relief bill, provisions in the Paycheck Fairness Act including guaranteed paid sick and family leave, defending workers’ ability to join unions, and extending worker protections currently denied to farmworkers, caregivers, domestic workers, and day-laborers.
  • Provide targeted and substantial aid to local, community-based nonprofits that work in, and whose staff and leadership are representative of, the highly impacted communities they serve to fill health, financial, educational, nutritional, and other social service gaps at the local level.
  • Authorize additional set-asides of PPP funding for community-based lenders like Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and minority depository institutions (MDIs) best positioned to deliver relief to our communities and to stabilize minority-owned small businesses and nonprofits.
  • Ensure disaster relief and other federal funds designated for Puerto Rico - including funds intended for COVID relief - are distributed and released in a timely and legal manner, without additional restrictions and barriers to access that are not required of other post-disaster entities.
  • Immediately grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Mexican nationals in the US. The COVID-19 crisis in Mexico represents extraordinary and temporary country conditions that make it unsafe to return Mexican nationals.

Matthew Rojas