House Democrats unveiled their wish list Tuesday for Covid-19 relief in the form of the HEROES Act, H.R. 6800. The bill will likely receive a floor vote on Friday and is expected to pass. But even House Democrats acknowledge that the bill is more about messaging and has no chance of passing the Republican-controlled Senate.
The bill includes an entire section on immigration, including a temporary amnesty for illegal-alien workers who are currently performing "essential critical infrastructure work." DHS maintains guidance on what is considered "essential critical infrastructure work" and it includes occupations in agriculture, food production, transportation, construction, and more.
Also included in the HEROES Act are provisions that would:
- Provide a temporary amnesty to illegal-alien workers in "critical infrastructure" occupations in the form of deferred action and work authorization.
- Automatically extend visas for nonimmigrants who are not able to file for an extension due to the Covid-19 crisis.
- Automatically roll over any unused green cards in FY2020 as a result of the Covid-19 crisis to be used in future years.
- Issue green cards to foreign health care workers in the United States who are eligible to receive a green card but are subject to annual caps.
- Authorize DHS to expedite the processing of visas for health care workers and researchers engaging in Covid-19 work.
- Require ICE to release all illegal-alien detainees who are not subject to mandatory detention and to provide those who are in detention with phones, internet access, hand sanitizer and other personal hygiene products.
NumbersUSA President and Founder Roy Beck issued the following statement:
House Democrats prioritizing of foreign workers, legal and illegal, over unemployed and underemployed Americans in the middle of a crisis is shameful. Instead of focusing on helping 33 million unemployed Americans get back to work, the so-called Heroes Act uses the COVID-19 pandemic to give amnesty—and cash payments—to illegal aliens working in the United States. Among other immigration provisions, the proposal includes a provision to expedite the permanent importation of foreign health care professionals, apparently to take the jobs of the tens of thousands of American health care professionals that have been laid off or furloughed during the pandemic. It also requires DHS to automatically extend the visas and work permits for an indefinite period of all foreign guest workers currently in the country.