Statement to Philadelphia & Pennsylvania Government Officials: We Won’t Let You Leave Our People Behind!
Our immigrant communities, the poor, and the working class have always been left out of emergency aid, public relief, and rehabilitation programs. We will not stand by and allow history to repeat itself. As such, we as organizations from Philadelphia and across the state have come together to demand more. We call on you to serve those who are sustaining the essential needs of our society during this crisis AND we challenge you to use this moment as an opportunity for transformation.
This global pandemic has revealed to the greater public the structural inequality of day-to-day life that our people have long known and experienced on a daily basis. The old normal was never enough for us. We refuse to go back to the old normal. We urge our city and state officials to work with us to develop a multi-faceted plan of relief that intrinsically addresses the root issues of poverty, criminalization, incarceration, and the lack of access to adequate healthcare.
This is a growing declaration and list of demands for longstanding change to ensure the health, wellbeing, and autonomy of all our people. We are here to lay the groundwork for long-lasting change.
We, the undersigned, call on the city of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania government officials to take immediate and concrete action to:
Care for Our People
Increase the capacity of all food distribution sites as well as the inclusion of basic household, childcare, and hygiene goods at all sites.
Transparently communicate with the general public about the state of and plans for food distribution due to the growing need.
Provide grocery delivery to quarantined, symptomatic, as well as all elderly and disabled residents.
Guarantee proper access to testing and health care facilities without worrying that ICE could arrest them while looking for medical attention.
Grant access to testing for those without primary care doctors. Increase availability of on-call primary care doctors and testing sites that do not require referrals.
Assure that free Internet access be provided for all families to receive quality public education and virtual instruction.
Condemn hate crimes and hold any person or group accountable for any hate crimes, racism, discrimination, or xenophobia arising as a result of Coronavirus misinformation.
Free Our People
Take immediate action to release as many people as possible from jails and juvenile detention centers. Advocate for the release of all immigrants from ICE and CBP detention.
Work to end all immigration enforcement throughout the state, by not enforcing detainers or transferring people between facilities and into ICE custody.
Ensure clear, language-appropriate communication regarding court case closures, delays and rescheduling.
Provide proactive safety planning, communication, and support for both survivors of harm and reentering released individuals.
Immediately issue an ERO (Emergency Restraining Order) on the Berks County Detention Center and ensure it never opens again.
Designate check-in appointments with ICE or Intensive Supervision and Monitoring Program (ISAP) as 'non-essential' activities not permitted during the period of the stay-home orders.
Safeguard the health and wellbeing of individuals detained and imprisoned now.
Issue regular, transparent and language-appropriate updates on ICE enforcement procedures with the advocates, community members, and families.
Guarantee professional interpreters are used for communication with inmates.
Protect All Workers
Guarantee paid sick days for ALL workers. Period.
Issue stimulus money, paid unemployment, and paid leave for ALL. Provide all workers in Pennsylvania with economic support at the level of the federal stimulus checks, paid unemployment, and paid leave, which will be distributed to the greater public regardless of their immigration status.
Enforce employer accountability through an accessible whistleblower program to empower employees, regardless of documentation status and without retribution, to enforce protections that will keep us all healthy.
Distribute Know Your Rights (KYR) education and materials that are language-appropriate, designed for people with varying levels of literacy, and for households without internet access.
Reopen the Commerce Department/PIDC Loans and Grants program, prioritizing small business applicants who are ineligible for other public or private financial support, and streamline the application process to make it more accessible to immigrant business owners.
Approve standard drivers’ licenses for all immigrants risking detention and deportation by traveling to jobs to contribute their labor to sustain our region with essential needs.
Homes for All
No Payment, No Debt. Rent, mortgage, and utility (including internet) forgiveness until the stay-at-home order is lifted and at least three months after that.
No Evictions or Displacement by Landlords for Any Reason. Suspend ALL evictions for the duration of the stay-at-home order and three months after that.
Safe and accessible housing for everyone, including those who are experiencing homelessness.
We respectfully submit these demands to center and protect the needs of immigrant communities in Philadelphia and beyond. We endorse these demands as well as the complete list of demands by the Alliance For A Just Philadelphia and Put People First! PA.