The following media release was shared on Wednesday:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A broad coalition of faith, civil rights, business and immigration organizations have launched a six-figure campaign to reach Americans nationwide to make the case that all Americans, including immigrants, are essential to COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.
The #AllOfUS campaign emphasizes that across countless sectors, immigrants —regardless of status— are doing essential work on the front lines fighting COVID-19 and keeping the nation safe and healthy.
At a time of increased fear and continued attempts to curtail immigration, the campaign focuses on the need for unity rather than division, and constructive solutions that recognize the contributions of immigrants amid the pandemic. Americans are rightly concerned about the spread of the virus, and the essential work of those risking their lives to keep our society fed, healthy and moving forward has never been more obvious—including the critical role immigrants play in health care, the food supply, transportation and other vital jobs.
Founding members include José Andrés, the George W. Bush Institute, Postmates, the National Association of Evangelicals, the NAACP, Stand Together, UnidosUS, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the National Immigration Forum, and the Emerson Collective. A full list of founding members is available here.
“Immigration should not become a casualty of COVID-19,” said Linda Chavez, Director of the Becoming American Initiative. “Our nation is strengthened by those who choose to become American and they are indispensable in rebuilding this great country after it emerges from this crisis.”
“Halting immigration will only hurt America’s recovery and is not a solution for getting native-born workers back into the labor force,” said Laura Collins, Director of the George W. Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative. “We must fix our broken immigration system and push for comprehensive immigration reform. While this crisis has required different sacrifices, we will have success following the same formula—immigrants and native-born Americans working together.”
“During this crisis, from the janitor in Queens, to the doctor in Chicago, to the farmworker in the Central Valley, immigrants are working shoulder to shoulder with their fellow Americans to keep the country afloat,” said Marshall Fitz, Managing Director of Immigration at the Emerson Collective. “While it has always been true that America is profoundly reliant on immigrant contributions, it has never been more obvious. Yet many of these workers who are sacrificing with and for us have been categorically excluded from the economic and health supports we all take for granted. This virus doesn’t discriminate, but our policies and systems do—it’s now on #AllofUS to demand that our leaders do better.”
“As Christians, we are called to care for one another and to love our neighbor,” said Shirley V. Hoogstra, President of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities. “In this time of pandemic, we must remember that our neighbors include all of the immigrants who are selflessly serving as doctors, nurses, janitors, cashiers, childcare providers, and delivery drivers, on the front lines in the fight against coronavirus. COVID-19 reminds us that every single human life is important—all human beings are created in the image of God, implying dignity, value, and worth, and we must fight to protect all lives.”
“We are facing a global crisis that has exposed the inequities of an unjust immigration system that has left many people vulnerable to a virus that doesn’t respect borders or immigration status,” said Tyler Moran, Executive Director of the Immigration Hub. “The only way for the country to recover is if all of us —those who were born here and those who now call the United States their home— are in it together. It also means that efforts to expand health care for treatment and testing of the virus and economic support for those who have lost their job due to the pandemic must include everyone. Those who use the coronavirus to sow division in the country and scare the American public are just politicizing a public health crisis.”
“This virus has revealed our common humanity with all its fragility and its remarkable strength,” said Walter Kim, President of the National Association of Evangelicals. “On the pages of America’s history are written the stories of immigrants who have made this country strong. Immigrants continue to write stories of courage and service to America. As followers of Jesus, we seek to love our neighbors, protect the vulnerable and bless society. We urge the protection of and collaboration with our immigrant population.”
“America’s ability to navigate crisis has always relied on the inclusivity and resiliency of her communities—individuals and families from all walks of life working together to face any great challenge,” said Jorge Lima, Senior Vice President of Immigration for Stand Together. “The COVID-19 pandemic is no exemption. The countless examples of immigrants and non-immigrants contributing side by side on the frontlines to battle this pandemic is a sign of our nation’s hope and strength. We are all in this together, no matter our background, and together is how we will recover.”
“Immigrants have always been an essential part of our nation’s workforce, and the pandemic has made this clearer than ever,” said Laura Reiff, Co-chair of the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition. “As we see countless examples of immigrants working on the frontlines to keep our communities safe, we’re reminded that our nation is stronger when we’re united—whether our families have been here for generations or have just arrived.”
“In times of crisis we must respond as one,” said Reverend John L. McCullough, President and CEO of Church World Service. “COVID-19 is indiscriminate; it doesn’t respect age, color, gender, class, or place of birth. When such a pandemic impacts each and every one of us, we cannot respond in piecemeal, it takes unity. Immigrants know this and are doing their part. Whether in the healthcare industry —as doctors, nurses and elder care personnel— or in the supply chains that keep our grocery stores stocked and our economy running, immigrants are keeping Americans healthy and our country running. This campaign recognizes their contributions and the importance of standing by their side.”
“COVID-19 affects us all. It does not care what we have or don’t have, where we come from, or how long we’ve been here. It only exploits our vulnerabilities as human beings,” said Ali Noorani, President and CEO of the National Immigration Forum. “To overcome this pandemic, all of us must work together and realize the promise of America; live up to the spirit of our founding ideals, the spirit of a more perfect union, the spirit of America. All of us means #AllOfUS.”
“I believe catastrophes bring out the best in us, uniting strangers against an enemy that threatens harm. Generations of Americans have come together to defeat common enemies, and I believe we can —and must— do it again. We must remember that COVID-19 is the enemy, not people who have different backgrounds, customs, or experiences from our own,” said Chris Palusky, President & CEO of Bethany Christian Services. “The Christian faith affirms our desire to welcome and help those who are persecuted and vulnerable, particularly children. The Church has been a crucial pillar of support in past crises. Today, I urge the Church to stand strong in defense of the refugees and immigrants in our communities and around the world. Do not be swayed by fear-mongering, nativism, or an agenda that dismisses our call to care for the vulnerable. Instead of misplacing our fears and frustrations, let’s thank our essential workers, including refugees and immigrants, for being the heroes we need right now.”
“The crisis has made viscerally clear the devastating inequities of our public health, economic, and democratic institutions and systems,” said Lorella Praeli, President of Community Change Action. “It is also shedding light on a simple truth: Our fates are linked. Now more than ever, we must challenge structural racism and inequality and fight for everyone. Just as every essential worker is leading with courage, risking their lives so others may have food and receive essential services, every elected official must fight for all COVID-19 relief efforts to include #AllOfUS, including immigrants.”