These are unprecedented times. The COVID-19 virus impacts individuals without regard to race, nationality, age, income, gender, religion, or immigration status, but is having a disproportionate impact on vulnerable communities.
On behalf of our most vulnerable communities, New American Leaders asks that our federal, state, and local leaders take immediate steps to limit virus transmission, reduce the potential loss of life, and increase access to economic recovery for all individuals. Below are a list of suggested actions in which leaders can engage:
Combat Anti-Asian Rhetoric As a result of racist rhetoric used by President Trump and other elected officials, hate crimes against Asian Americans are on the rise.
- Condemn calling the COVID-19 virus the “Chinese Virus” and any other anti-Asian rhetoric, xenophobia, and violence.
- Organize community support events for Asian American owned businesses and restaurants.
Guarantee Access to Healthcare
- Provide free COVID-19 testing for all individuals, regardless of immigration status.
- Provide translated documents for limited English proficient individuals on federal, state, and local department of health websites and hotlines to learn how to access care.
- Provide special enrollment periods for the Affordable Care Act health insurance exchange.
Relief for Small Business and Workers
- Mandate the closures of all non-essential businesses and classify grocery workers, janitorial, and sanitation as emergency workers.
- Allocate adequate funding relief for small business owners and place an allowance for temporary interest-only payments on SBA loans currently in payment.
- Allow state and local governments to intervene on behalf of small businesses with landlords and mortgage bankers to encourage flexibility in meeting rent and loan obligations with temporary assistance during the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.
- Include all individuals, regardless of immigration status, in federal, state, and local relief packages, including access to unemployment benefits, SNAP benefits, stimulus funding, and provisions laid out in the federal CARE Act.
Protect Families & Individuals
- Place a moratorium on rent, mortgages, evictions, foreclosures, and debts.
- Implement a moratorium on utilities disconnection including water, power, gas, and internet.
- Mandate paid-leave and expand unemployment benefits for all workers, including independent contractors and freelance workers.
- Waive all requirements and restrictions for SNAP benefits, including immigration status.
- Require all three credit bureaus to waive penalties for nonpayment or late payment for mortgage payments, utilities, student loan debt, credit cards, and other loans during the duration of the crisis.
Increase Safety For Incarcerated and Detained Individuals
- Release all non-violent, pre-trial detainees.
- Suspend immigration court, ICE and CBP operations and halt all deportations.
- Comply with CDC, NCCHC, and state department of health guidelines.
- Ensure access to soap, tissue, cleaning/sanitizing products, and clean laundry in all facilities.
- Ensure transparency in communications with family members and the public.
- Implement safe and clean medical quarantine where appropriate.
- Expedite parole review cases for elderly and infirm individuals.
In the face of this global pandemic, our leaders must come together as a nation to put an end to the spread of the virus, the economic and social impacts it causes, and discrimination so many in the Asian American community face. These actions will ensure that we minimize the losses from, and long-term impact of, this difficult period in our history.