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Petty and Small-minded, Anti-Immigrant Actors Deny the Contributions of Frontline Immigrant Workers

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CIS and Breitbart Shamelessly Impugn All Frontline Workers

 The fight against COVID-19 requires we all come together, work together and have each other’s back. For many of us, the job is to stay at home, social distance and mitigate the spread of this deadly disease. For others, the job is to perform essential work and risk their lives in doing so. To all the frontline doctors, nurses, first responders, farmworkers, food prep, protein plant workers, bus drivers, truckers, home health care aides, cleaners, checkout workers and more, a grateful nation thanks you for putting your lives on the line for all of us.

Unfortunately, not everyone is so grateful. The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and their right wing media allies such as Breitbart spent this week trying to diminish and denigrate the contributions of 29,000 health care workers with DACA.

Compare this small-mindedness to the expressions of those with DACA on the front lines. Houston paramedic Jesus Contreras, who risked his life to help survivors of Hurricane Harvey in 2017, is still at it. With an upcoming Supreme Court decision threatening to put DACA recipients on a path to deportation, Contreras said this recently:

A lot of us are in key roles in our healthcare system. We have a lot of health care providers—whether it’s nurses, paramedics, EMTs and doctors—that are DACA recipients. There’s a lot of people like myself that are DACA recipients or immigrants who are doing things for the community at a time of need. Meanwhile, the administration is trying to tear that apart.

Another DACA recipient, Ever Arias, is an internal medicine resident physician who is heroically treating COVID-19 patients, despite the fact that his hospital is facing shortages of critical supplies and personal protective equipment. Arias said recently:

I see myself as part of the fabric of the United States, as part of the fabric of history now. When I look back, I want to be able to say I played a role in being on the frontlines and being part of the solution….You’re probably going to encounter one of us, whether you know it or not. To be honest, you may not even know that I’m taking care of you and I’m undocumented.

Meanwhile, a demographic profile from the Center for American Progress finds, “across the country, 202,500 DACA recipients are working to protect the health and safety of Americans as the country confronts COVID-19.”

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

Like millions of other frontline workers, immigrants are showing up in this moment of crisis. They stand shoulder to shoulder with all who are risking their lives to save ours.

Instead of thanking them and welcoming them, CIS and Breitbart strain to erase them and their contributions. This is shameful and shameless. It is a stark reminder that blind hatred of immigrants is what drives these activists, even at the expense of the public health of the nation.

We owe it to the immigrants who are serving the collective good of the nation to express gratitude for their work, dismiss the small-minded commentary of anti-immigrant organizations, and to remove the uncertainty from their lives at this moment of peril. The best way to do that is to create a line to get into so these brave Americans are formally and permanently recognized as the Americans they already are.

This is a once-in-a-century crisis that calls on all of us to do our part. And all of us means all of us.