AILA Public Statements, Press Releases

AILA Urges Support for the HEROES Act

5/15/20 AILA Doc. No. 20051533.

Washington, DC – The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) urges support for the HEROES Act. The Act, introduced in the House of Representatives, would help protect the health and safety of all communities and provide a plan for this nation to rebuild, ensuring our shared prosperity.

AILA Executive Director Benjamin Johnson noted, “The HEROES Act recognizes that every person, native-born and foreign-born alike, has a vital role to play in our nation’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. During this pandemic, where you come from shouldn’t matter. What matters is where you live and work, and how you contribute. Many foreign nationals, including those on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19, face massive uncertainty and are at risk of losing their lawful status because of expiring visas and work requirements that may be impossible to meet during this pandemic. They need flexibility so they can work where they are needed and not fall out of legal status. Many cannot return to their home-country even if they wanted to, with countries shuttered and flights cancelled.

“The legislation also carefully addresses immigrants detained in facilities where the risk of COVID-19 spreading is extreme. To protect them and the public from the virus, immediate steps should be taken to release the most vulnerable people from detention and to ameliorate conditions in facilities. Finally, as an association comprised of 15,000 members who are mostly small business owners, AILA welcomes the urgently needed financial support that the HEROES Act will provide to small businesses and individuals who are struggling during the pandemic. The HEROES Act is a vitally important step forward in the battle we are all facing, together.”

Provisions in the HEROES Act would:

  • Ensure that foreign nationals who are living and working in the United States can temporarily remain here safely and productively until our nation recovers.
  • Expand opportunities for foreign health and medical professionals on the frontlines of the COVID-19 battle to utilize their skills where it is needed the most and protect their families should they make the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
  • Protect our nation by taking critical steps to safeguard the health of people who are currently in immigration detention facilities and to reduce the numbers held in detention.
  • Provide additional, urgently-needed financial assistance and support to ensure individuals and families and small businesses struggling to survive can survive this pandemic.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.