Elected officials called on to help border residents left out of relief package


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR), the Peace and Justice Ministry of the Catholic Diocese of El Paso, the Border Agricultural Workers Center and about a dozen other local coalitions sent a letter to all elected officials requesting financial aid for border residents.

“We call on our local, state and federal legislators to take action to provide financial assistance for all border residents who have been left out of the federal stimulus packet, those who lack the means to seek health and medical services, and have no access to unemployment benefits or to emergency assistance funds at our local level,” said Marco Raposo, director of Peace and Justice at Catholic Diocese of El Paso.

According to a news release by BNHR, the aid would be for those excluded from the third federal stimulus package, COVID-19 Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), and who lack access to health and medical services, benefits or other emergency assistance.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created havoc in our lives, disrupted our daily routines, made us change the ways we do things, and pushed a considerable number of workers into joblessness,” stated part of the letter. “Many of them worked in essential businesses, but will not receive any financial support because they are undocumented immigrants, or file their tax return with an ITI number or might not have economic means to face this crisis. Many, such as a large number of farmworkers, may not have lost their employment, as they are essential to cultivate food, but at the same time do not qualify for financial assistance and needed health services.”

Many immigrants do not have access to health insurance, will not receive stimulus package relief, do not qualify for paid sick or family leave, and yet are not exempt from having to pay their bills, rent, food and other necessities, said the release.

“When one person or family in our community is in peril, everyone suffers,” said Fernando Garcia, BNHR executive director. “When immigrant families are excluded from access to well-being, we are all at risk.”

The letter outlines specific requests at all levels of government, including requests to El Paso City Council members, El Paso County Commissioners, El Paso state representatives and the senator, and El Paso Congresswoman Veronica Escobar.

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