WASHINGTON —The American Civil Liberties Union sent letters to the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate demanding universal access to COVID-19 testing and treatment to ensure the nation’s collective health. ACLU affiliates — including in Alabama, Northern California, Southern California, San Diego & Imperial Counties, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Tennessee — are urging their senators to act, as negotiations begin regarding the next COVID package. Advocates have been organizing for weeks around this issue and, coupled with ACLU’s Summer Advocacy Institute’s day of action, have generated thousands of calls to ACLU members and nearly 3,500 letters to members of Congress regarding universal access to testing and treatment.
The following is a statement from Yesenia Chavez, ACLU policy analyst and campaign manager:
“With COVID-19 infection rates soaring across the country, it’s clear that our national response has not worked. As public health experts have stated, testing and treatment are critical to slowing the spread of this virus. But Congress has left millions of people, including immigrants, without access to testing and treatment. As Congress negotiates the next COVID-19 package, our members are sending a clear message: Universal access to testing and treatment must be included. Nearly 70 percent of Americans also agree that the federal government has an obligation to provide medical care to undocumented immigrants with COVID-19. Until all of us are covered, all of us are at risk.
“Each bill that Congress has enacted has left tens of millions of people without access to COVID-related testing and treatment — many of them are essential workers, including immigrants. As Congress negotiates its final package, it must ensure testing and treatment for everyone, regardless of immigration status, and protect the health of the country. All of our lives are on the line.”