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Protecting and Supporting Our Immigrant Neighbors

Everyone who lives in our community should be welcomed and treated with dignity. Immigrants who are undocumented or living in DC under a special status like Temporary Protected Status (TPS) are our neighbors, do some of the most important jobs in our economy, add to our cultural vitality, and are key to our economic future.

A city that says it cares about immigrants and their sanctuary should do everything it can to not cooperate with federal immigration enforcement that may lead to deportation and tearing families apart.

Supporting immigrants is not only morally right, it’s critical to a successful community. If we don’t invest in the education, health care, and economic security of undocumented immigrants, our community will suffer. 

As a Council member, I will work for:

  • Resisting ICE: A city that says it cares about immigrants and supporting their sanctuary should not cooperate with ICE or other federal immigration enforcement agencies. Marking a firm line of non-cooperation is key to building trust with the immigrant community. As a Councilmember I would work to ensure that no one living in DC enters ICE custody. I would take steps needed to stop the Department of Corrections from sharing information with ICE, even when ICE requests it. I also would push to pass a permanent version of the Sanctuary Values Act to protect our immigrant neighbors from being turned over to ICE.
  • Guaranteeing Language Access: I have been an advocate for language access and will continue to be. Through my work at DCFPI, I was part of the coalition for the 2004 Language Access Act, and I supported the 2018 Language Access to Education Act, to ensure that all schools have a full-time language access coordinator. That legislation remains unfunded and not fully implemented. As a Council member, I will work to see this become a reality, in both DCPS and every charter school.
  • Ensuring Healthcare Access for Immigrants: In my work as the executive director of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute (from 2001 to March 2020) I worked in a coalition to eliminate barriers that DC imposes on immigrants trying to access health coverage through the DC Healthcare Alliance program. Almost 10 years ago, DC made a policy choice to require Alliance participants to show up in person twice a year to a DC social service center just to keep their coverage, knowing that this would be a barrier and reduce participation. Within one year, participation had fallen by 10,000, meaning that many people are being denied health insurance. DCFPI has been a leader in the coalition trying to eliminate this cruel and discriminatory 6-month recertification requirement. It is worth noting that a modest amount of progress was finally made this year, in the FY 2021 DC budget. As a Council member, I would work to fully eliminate barriers to accessing health care coverage through the Alliance.

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