August 5, 2020
On behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration (USCCB/COM), I write to urge you to add your name as a cosponsor of the “Coronavirus Assistance for American Families (CAAF) Act”, introduced by Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Steve Daines (R-MT), Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Marco Rubio (R-FL). Your co-sponsorship of this legislation would be an enormous help in ensuring that \ immigrant families that include a U.S. citizen parent are made eligible for funding in the next COVID-19 package negotiated by Congress. CAAF would help protect some mixed-status families and is an important step in the right direction that we welcome and support. At the same time, we continue to urge lawmakers to ensure that all U.S. citizen children, including those who do not have a U.S. citizen parent, are eligible for stimulus payments. This would ensure that they are able to receive support they desperately need, promote family stability, and good health during this uncertain time.
The Catholic Church’s commitment to assisting immigrants is rooted in our belief that all God’s children were created in His image and have a unique and sacred human dignity. Our work on behalf of immigrant families, in particular, is centered around the importance of the family unit to society. As Pope Francis has stated, the family “is the foundation of co-existence and a remedy against social fragmentation.” Families are an essential element of our communities, parishes, and nation; they are what holds America together. Upholding and protecting families, regardless of national origin or immigration status is vital to our faith and to our country.
CAAF proposes providing a $1,000 Economic Impact Payment to all American citizens equally, regardless of age or dependent status. It would make adult dependent U.S. citizens eligible to receive the payment, including those with disabilities, or college students, and U.S. citizens married to foreign nationals. It would not make foreign nationals or Individual Tax Identification Number filers eligible for the payment. It would prioritize families by expanding assistance through an increased child benefit so that a family that includes four U.S. citizens would receive $600 more than it received under the CARES Act. And it would provide greater assistance to single parents with multiple children who face additional economic hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The changes proposed in CAAF would make more mixed-status immigrant families eligible to receive the assistance they need. We are pleased with this critical effort to include more immigrant families in vital relief efforts.
We respectfully request that serious consideration be given to be more inclusive with stimulus aid to all U.S. citizen children, regardless of their parents’ immigration status. We firmly believe that such life-affirming relief for U.S. citizen children should not hinge on their parents’ immigration status. We know that there is much need now for assistance for immigrant families, particularly mixed-status families, who are hurting. From our work supporting and ministering to immigrant communities, we know that their livelihoods and general health outcomes could be greatly improved by this addition.
We are thankful to our elected legislators in Congress for their work in helping our country respond to the coronavirus pandemic and the long road we face ahead in recovery. We ask that you cosponsor the Coronavirus Assistance for American Families (CAAF) Act as it is a step forward in ensuring that all are included in the recovery efforts. Additionally, we urge you to ensure all U.S. citizen children are eligible for future coronavirus stimulus relief. We must continue to come together to ensure for the advancement of the common good and the inclusion of those who are left on the margins.
Most Rev. Mario E. Dorsonville, Auxiliary Bishop of Washington, Chairman, USCCB Committee on Migration