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Giving Compass' Take:
• Without access to unemployment benefits or health insurance, undocumented immigrants face a tough path through the global pandemic, according to Patti Verbanas at Futurity.
• How can we learn from coronavirus and work to equip undocumented immigrants with equitable contingency resources in the future?
• Learn more about how you can get involved in defending against the global pandemic.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, undocumented immigrants face challenges obtaining resources and health care services needed to stay safe.
Karen D’Alonzo, an associate professor at Rutgers School of Nursing and director of the Center for Community Health Partnerships, which works to bridge health disparities in Mexican American neighborhoods in New Brunswick, NJ, says working in unprotected environments, language barriers, and the fear of deportation put immigrants at an even greater risk of getting sick.
What unique challenges do undocumented immigrants face during the pandemic?
Many undocumented immigrants work in service industry positions with little or no job security. These employees have either lost their jobs due to the pandemic—undocumented immigrants do not qualify for unemployment benefits—or continue to work without significant protection, exposing themselves, and by extension their families, to people who may be COVID-positive. They frequently have no advocate in their job that will tell them what steps to take to protect them. Immigrants are less likely to own a car to drive to work and must therefore rely on public transportation, which also increases their risk of exposure to the virus.
Just getting tested for COVID can be an ordeal. At drive-in locations, people are asked to produce a social security number or have a state-issued ID to qualify for free testing. Many undocumented persons lack both of these official forms of identification.
In addition, type 2 diabetes and hypertension are very common among immigrant Mexicans, often beginning in young adulthood. Such individuals are more likely to develop COVID-19 complications requiring hospitalization and suffer from more health conditions and risk of death.
Read the full article about undocumented immigrants and coronavirus by Patti Verbanas at Futurity.