April 10, 2020

Cortez Masto, Rosen Cosponsor Bill to Protect Immigrants During COVID-19 Pandemic

Las Vegas, Nev. – U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) joined U.S. Senators Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) to cosponsor the Coronavirus Immigrant Families Protection Act to ensure that all communities have access to urgently needed COVID-19 testing, public health information, and relief benefits regardless of immigration status or limited English proficiency.

“We’re in the middle of a public health crisis, and protecting Nevadans from the spread of COVID-19 means protecting everyone in our state,” said the Senators. “Nevada is a beautifully diverse state, with families who have members from every corner of the globe, and we need to make sure those families can get critical support. We’re proud to cosponsor this legislation that will ensure everyone in Nevada has access to the testing, treatment, and information that will keep them, their families, and our communities as safe and healthy as possible.”

BACKGROUND:

The Coronavirus Immigrant Families Protection Act would:

  • Ensure that everyone has access to COVID-19 testing and treatment by:
    • Providing coverage of COVID-19 testing and vaccines under Medicaid to everyone, regardless of immigration status, by defining it as treatment for an emergency medical condition;
    • Making clear that accessing coronavirus-related services will not be counted against an individual with respect to immigration status or in consideration for other federal programs; and
    • Prohibiting discrimination in any program funded by a coronavirus relief bill based on actual or perceived immigration status.
  • Provide $100 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide language access and public outreach on coronavirus preparedness, response, and recovery to hard-to-reach populations—including minorities, those with limited English proficiency, and those with disabilities.
  • Ensure access to coronavirus relief measures to vulnerable communities by:
    • Extending nutrition assistance through a Disaster-SNAP (D-SNAP) program to allow individuals and families impacted by a pandemic to receive direct food assistance from FEMA;
    • Allowing immigrant taxpayers to access IRS benefits with an ITIN; and
    • Automatically extending expiring work authorization and status for immigrants during the coronavirus emergency for the same time period as was previously authorized.
  • Modify immigration policies that deter immigrants from seeking health services for the duration of the coronavirus emergency and for 60 days after the emergency ends, including:
    • Temporarily suspending the public charge rules, in-person ICE checks, and the detention and removal of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors who have pending immigration applications;
    • Suspending immigration enforcement actions at or in transit to/from sensitive locations, such as hospitals, courthouses, domestic violence shelters, food banks, and other sensitive locations; and
    • Requiring fully telephonic bond hearings for detained individuals.