Detroit, Lansing billboards urge Michigan senators to include immigrants in COVID-19 relief

The billboards have been erected in multiple states
Posted at 4:29 PM, Mar 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-17 19:20:04-04

(WXYZ) — Michigan is one of a handful of states where activists have erected billboards urging key senators to include immigrants in COVID-19 recovery bills.

The billboard campaign was launched by activists from the Center for Popular Democracy, Make the Road NY, CASA and NAKASEC, and are in cities in Arizona, Colorado, Michigan and West Virginia.

The billboards show photos of immigrants or activists next to a photo of a state senator. In Michigan, billboards have been erected in Lansing and Detroit with Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Sen. Gary Peters, both Democrats, with the wording, "Immigrants delivered your election. You need to deliver for them," and "Immigrants grow your food. You need to deliver for them."

Activists are calling for senators to offer citizenship to essential workers, and acknowledge the "innumerable contributions immigrants have made throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to keep the country running," a release states.

“Without immigrants, America stops running,” said Ana Maria Archila, co-executive director of Center for Popular Democracy. “Throughout the pandemic, millions risked their lives as farmworkers, food processors, healthcare workers and other ‘essential personnel’ to make incalculable contributions to their communities. An equitable recovery means everyone — no matter their status — is left behind. It is now the responsibility of our elected officials to recognize immigrant communities, ensure they receive the relief they deserve and build a fairer, stronger country in the process.”

Each of the five billboards directs viewers to to send a letter to the senators listed, asking them to move on this request for citizenship so that immigrants can be included in future COVID relief packages.

On March, 11, President Joe Biden signed a $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill, which included $1,400 individual stimulus checks to qualifying adults, expanded tax credits for children and billions for vaccine distribution as well as other aid. Undocumented immigrants have not been included in any of the last three COVID-19 relief packages.

Sen. Peters and Sen. Stabenow didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.