RAICES Action Democratic Debate Statement Says That Candidates Must Call for Release of All Immigrants at Risk of Coronavirus

Mar 16, 2020
11:51 AM

Democratic presidential hopefuls former US vice president Joe Biden (L) and Senator Bernie Sanders take part in the 11th Democratic Party 2020 presidential debate in a CNN Washington Bureau studio in Washington, DC on March 15, 2020. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

On Sunday night, the following statement was shared by immigrant rights group RAICES Action:

We were glad to hear immigration finally being discussed in a Democratic Debate this year. Everyone in America wants to hear where Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden stand in this critical time; the immigrant community is not an exception. At a time when our undocumented sisters and brothers are uncertain if they can get health care if they have symptoms of COVID-19, we need answers. At a time when thousands of people are in CBP and ICE detention without the proper care needed in case of an outbreak, we need answers

Today [Sunday] we heard both candidates speaking to how they will stop deportations, but it was alarming to hear the former Vice President use the same “felons vs. families” rhetoric that the Obama administration used repeatedly. The Obama and Biden administration deported 3 million undocumented immigrants and created a powerful deportation and detention machine. We call on Joe Biden to change this approach and adopt the Migrant Justice Platform, which calls for a real moratorium on deportations and executive action on day one. Bernie Sanders must also move away from the failed strategy of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, which always begins with a compromise on people’s humanity, and support the platform.

We were also pleased to hear that Sanders’ Medicare For All proposal would cover the undocumented community and that Biden supports sanctuary cities. This is a step in the right direction. We will keep pushing for more.

In addition, we are calling on both candidates to join RAICES, our sister organization, in calling for the release from detention of all immigrants at risk of coronavirus.

All those who have been subject to the Trump administration’s roster of anti-immigrant policies are in a vulnerable position; from those in detention to those living under MPP. Immigration detention conditions are already poor, so a coronavirus outbreak could be a disaster. Neither DHS, ICE or EOIR have provided any sort of contingency plan that would help reduce exposure to detained immigrants, their families, government staff, judges, or jail staff. ICE must free them all.