Local Leaders Urge Immigrants To Access Public Health Resources Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
Thursday, March 19, 2020
Photo by Eric Risberg AP
Local elected officials on Thursday encouraged immigrants to access government health care and other community resources as COVID-19 continues to spread in San Diego.
“We want our immigrant community to know that services are out there and they shouldn’t fear to use it,” County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said.
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Medical providers are required to offer care regardless of immigration status, he said. “No one should be afraid to ask for help.”
Fletcher reiterated anyone who needs to get medical help should go get it, including getting tested for COVD-19 if they need it. Immigrants, regardless of legal status, will not be asked for documents, he said.
State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez said immigrants and refugees should not be afraid to access government resources because of the Trump administration's “public charge” rule, which is a White House policy that bars citizenship to immigrants and refugees who take advantage of public assistance programs.
“This is what we know for sure,” she said. “You can access unemployment insurance without affecting your future citizenship status.” That includes paid family leave, temporary family leave, she added. Those programs are not a “public charge” because they have been paid for by employers, she said.
Families can still access food from the food bank and pick up free lunch from schools regardless of documentation or immigration status, Gonzalez said.
Several community leaders were also there asking the public to not spread fear and xenophobia during the crisis.
“Our children are the first to pick up on that and spread it without knowing what it means,” said Lee Ann Kim, founder of Pacific Arts Movement and a former news anchor.
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