Giving Compass' Take:

• Immigrant families are suffering during COVID-19, and are experiencing job losses and economic strife while being excluded from government assistance programs. 

• What are alternative vehicles for immigrant families to receive care during this time? 

 Read more about supporting immigrant communities during this time. 

The COVID-19 crisis has heightened the consequences of recent policies that have deterred immigrants from receiving federal safety net assistance and other supports. Before the pandemic, many immigrant families faced explicit barriers to or deferred from participating in programs such as Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and subsidized housing. Now, at a time when many immigrant families need assistance because they are disproportionately experiencing economic hardship and health risks from COVID-19, the newly implemented “public charge” rule threatens to further dampen participation.

New data from two nationally representative surveys of nonelderly adults reveal disproportionately high rates of job and income loss and material hardship among Hispanic families with noncitizens during the early stages of the pandemic, while spotlighting how immigrant families fear accessing public supports they may desperately need as the crisis unfolds.

The Urban Institute’s Health Reform Monitoring Survey, fielded between March 25 and April 20, 2020, shows that Hispanic adults were far more likely than adults in other racial and ethnic groups we studied to report that their families lost work or work-related income because of the coronavirus outbreak—a finding confirmed by recent unemployment data (PDF). But the survey also found wide disparities among Hispanic adults by family citizenship status. More than two-thirds (69 percent) of Hispanic adults in families with noncitizens and about half (49 percent) of those in families where all members are citizens reported losing work or income.

The Urban Institute’s Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey (WBNS), fielded in December 2019 before the onset of the pandemic in the US, shows that many immigrant families went into the COVID-19 crisis afraid to access noncash public supports that might help them meet their family’s needs.

Read the full article about immigrant families by Hamutal Bernstein, Michael Karpman, Dulce Gonzalez, Stephen Zuckerman at Urban Institute.