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During Public Health Crisis, Immigrants Getting the Job Done

 

The Immigrant Workforce is the Backbone of Industries Like Agriculture, Healthcare and Hospitality That Sustain our Economy

While the Trump administration proves its incompetence in the midst of a global pandemic, immigrants are on the frontlines actively responding to the needs of their fellow Americans. From working in healthcare, food and cleaning, immigrant workers are situated in key industries and are more crucial than ever in this time of crisis.

According to Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communication for America’s Voice:

On the one hand, President Trump is staking his reelection campaign on demonizing immigrants to stoke white grievances and is hoping that his attacks on immigrants and foreigners during the Covid-19 crisis will cover up his utter mishandling of the emergency. These are political strategies that get a lot of attention and airtime and distract from the lack of testing, masks, respirators and hospital beds desperately needed in this public health emergency.

On the other hand we have reality, where immigrants are integral to feeding Americans, caring for the sick and elderly, and providing services that keep our economy afloat.

To be sure, immigrant workers in the service and hospitality industry will be disproportionately impacted as we all stay home and shelter in place. And this is exacerbated when Republican lawmakers and TV personalities are simultaneously trying to scapegoat immigrants and make them a focal point. During the Trump years, policies have been put in place to make immigrants less likely to come forward to seek medical care and assistance if they are in need, even as our healthcare system in many places is sustained by the very immigrants Trump disdains.

There is a lot more of the spirit of ‘we are all in this together’ coming from the American people than is reflected in the White House and the President’s attacks on immigrants. The sooner we all grasp that we are in this together – and that immigrants are a part of the ‘we’ – the better.

Below are some links that illustrate, in the words of the musical Hamilton, that immigrants get the job done.

Immigrants have, are, and always will be a part of our communities, they are working around the clock in key industries, and in some cases, putting themselves in harms way:

The jobs within which TPS beneficiaries tend to work are in high demand…likewise, in accommodation and food services (which includes restaurants and other food services), there were approximately 961,000 job openings in September 2018, while only 5.3 percent of workers in the industry were unemployed nationwide.

KALW-FM in San Francisco reports:

Low-income immigrant workers are particularly vulnerable during the COVID-19 crisis. California’s immigrant communities are disproportionately represented in service, cleaning, maintenance and caregiving industries, which require many employees to interact with other people.

Immigrants are indispensable to America’s healthcare workforce, as a National Immigration Forum fact sheet from March 2018 points out.

As the administration continues to ramp up its efforts to vilify immigrants during this Pandemic and completely fail at properly addressing the public health crisis at hand, remember the immigrants at risk, who are part of our communities; working to stock your groceries, place food on your table, provide adequate child care services and treat the virus head on.

 

Also check out our photoblog on the contributions of immigrants during the pandemic.