Undocumented immigrants, fearful of Trump administration, could be hit hard by coronavirus




Undocumented immigrants, fearful of Trump administration, could be hit hard by coronavirus
Undocumented immigrants, fearful of Trump administration, could be hit hard by coronavirus  

MIAMI - When undocumented immigrants call into the Florida Immigrant Coalition's telephone hotline these days, Laura Munoz is struggling to figure out what to tell them.

First, Munoz reads them the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on how to avoid contracting the coronavirus, citing recommendations to self-isolate and avoid crowds of 10 people or more.

But then, Munoz has to tell them that it's critically important for them to show up in person for their check-ins at the local Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office, where dozens of people cram into lines each morning to enter the building.

"We have people saying, 'I have lung problems, but I can't be separated from my family so I have to go to my appointment,'" Munoz said. "They are dealing with this horrible contradiction between these federal agencies. That's not good for them, for immigrant communities, or the public health of our community."

Friday coronavirus updates: California under lockdown, death toll crosses 200

As Americans are struggling to cope with a new way of life under government-issued restrictions because ofe to the fast-spreading virus, the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants are being hit especially hard, juggling their fears of being deported with their fears of basic survival.

Their jobs are disappearing, they often have no company-sponsored health insurance to rely on, and there won't be any $1,000 checks coming from Washington, D.C., for them.

In California, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights completed a survey on Sunday of 500 people who are either undocumented or related to an undocumented immigrant. The poll found that people are more scared about their economic situation than they are of contracting COVID-19.

Of the 500 people surveyed, 95 percent were concerned about paying their bills and 89 percent were worried about losing their jobs, compared to 73 percent who cited coronavirus as a concern.

Diana Colin, political director for the coalition, said the results shouldn't be surprising given the temporary, cash-based jobs that undocumented immigrants generally perform. As restaurants close, those jobs are drying up. As more businesses shift to teleworking, fewer janitors are needed to clean office buildings. And as more parents work from home and self-isolate, nannies could soon start losing their jobs, as well.

"They're working hourly jobs. A lot of times, they're getting paid under the table. And they don't qualify for unemployment," Colin said.

That combination is driving undocumented immigrants in Georgia to start thinking of alternatives to get through what could be a prolonged period of economic hardship.

Adelina Nicholls, executive director of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, said she was only half joking recently when she appeared on an internet radio program and offered up her collection of Silvio Rodriguez records in exchange for two pounds of onions. With no federal bailout or national organizations stepping in to save the undocumented population, Nicholls said they need to start working on the hyper-local level to figure out ways to survive block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood.

To endure what she described as an "econo-virus," she wants to help establish bartering systems among neighbors, work with local food banks to ensure that the most needy can find food, and see if there are fundraisers or other ways to help undocumented communities.

"What we have to do is organize in our homes with our neighbors and help each other," Nicholls said.

As more people get infected, the next worry will be how they will be treated.

Daniel Perez, intake coordinator at the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project in Seattle, said he's been fielding nonstop calls from undocumented immigrants asking how they can get medical help if they get sick.

The Trump administration instituted a "public charge" rule last month that makes immigrants ineligible for residency or citizenship if they rely on government benefits or are deemed likely to use them in the future. Perez said that has left a wide variety of immigrants - undocumented immigrants who are trying to legalize their status, legal immigrants who are applying for green cards and citizenship - hesitant to seek out medical assistance during the current outbreak.

That's explains why Perez is hoping the existing network of clinics and individuals doctors who treat undocumented immigrants, no questions asked, can step up during the coronavirus outbreak. And that's why Perez is stressing to immigrants that they are legally allowed to use the emergency room in their local hospitals if they are desperate.

"We need to be sure that people get convinced of that," he said.

Munoz of the Florida Immigrant Coalition put it this way: "Even if I tell them to go, if they feel scared, they could just stay home and hope they don't die."

Hovering over all those concerns for undocumented immigrants is the constant fear that ICE agents will arrest them.

The agency put out a statement Wednesday saying it would focus its arrests on "public safety risks" and will "exercise discretion" for the time being by not arresting those who are not. But ICE has ignored calls from advocates to release non-criminal offenders from immigration detention.

Instead, the agency is now barring relatives from visiting people locked up in ICE detention centers, and limiting how attorneys and members of Congress can visit those centers. Many immigration courts have closed, but in-person check-ins at many ICE facilities continue as scheduled.

Immigration advocates say they're hoping ICE officials start showing some sympathy in the weeks to come, as they apparently did when it announced Wednesday that it would scale back arrests. But given their history under the Trump administration, they're not holding their breath.

"There isn't a lot of trust right now with the federal government," Colin said.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus and undocumented immigrants under Trump: Fear and anxiety

COMMENTS

More Related News

Why undocumented immigrants still fear the 2020 census
Why undocumented immigrants still fear the 2020 census

The United States might not be able to get information about more than 10 million people in the 2020 census. That's the number of undocumented immigrants living in the United States. Another 16.7 million individuals live in a household with an undocumented member and so might also not be counted in this year's census.The primary reason that undocumented immigrants might forego participation in the 2020 census? Fear. Fear of being found by immigration enforcement authorities. Fear of being detained to face a deportation hearing. And, ultimately, fear of being deported. If data is missing from the 2020 census, that will harm national and community planning efforts. Fear of deportationThe...

Trump Administration Has Turned Immigration Court Into
Trump Administration Has Turned Immigration Court Into 'Public Health Hazard'

In a country ground to a standstill by the coronavirus pandemic, there is one place normalcy reigns: immigration courts.Overburdened judges oversee packed proceedings; attorneys shuttle clients and paperwork from room to room, often with interpreters in tow; aspiring legal citizens, or at least residents, follow closely, sitting through hearings famously described as death-penalty cases held in a traffic court.The courts, along with visa applications, detention hearings and other immigration related bureaucracy, are seemingly the lone part of the federal government still expected to function as if a global pandemic hasn't upended nearly every facet of American life. But those tasked with...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

  • The Champions
    (2020-03-21 07:27:37Z)

    We all need to be safe and aware of the problem going on.

    REPLY
  • ZaraPiext
    (2020-03-29 21:41:28Z)

    coronavirus qingdao
    http://chloroquine-treatmentforcoronavirus.com/# - chloroquine phosphate 250 mg
    2 coronavirus in us
    chloroquine phosphate 250mg
    - 3 coronavirus cases in canada
    n coronavirus transmission

    REPLY
  • ZaraPiext
    (2020-03-30 12:29:08Z)

    coronavirus graph
    http://chloroquine-treatmentforcoronavirus.com/# - buy chloroquine phosphate
    coronavirus los angeles
    buy chloroquine 250mg
    - coronavirus 6th us case
    coronavirus eli5

    REPLY
  • ZaraPiext
    (2020-03-30 13:38:14Z)

    coronavirus victims age
    http://chloroquine-treatmentforcoronavirus.com/# - chloroquine online
    coronavirus prevention
    chloroquine sars
    - coronavirus kern county
    l coronavirus symptoms

    REPLY
  • ZaraPiext
    (2020-03-30 17:55:24Z)

    coronavirus zurich
    http://chloroquine-treatmentforcoronavirus.com/# - chloroquine phosphate 250mg online
    coronavirus mers
    buy chloroquine phosphate
    - 3 coronavirus in usa
    coronavirus 5 year old

    REPLY
  • ZaraPiext
    (2020-03-31 03:05:53Z)

    coronavirus buffalo ny
    http://chloroquine-treatmentforcoronavirus.com/# - chloroquine for coronavirus
    coronavirus 2020 treatment
    buy chloroquine 250mg
    - coronavirus north carolina
    coronavirus update live

    REPLY
  • ZaraPiext
    (2020-03-31 04:00:00Z)

    n coronavirus transmission
    http://chloroquine-treatmentforcoronavirus.com/# - chloroquine sars
    coronavirus 5 year old
    coronavirus antiviral drugs
    - 5 coronavirus cases in usa
    coronavirus lockdown

    REPLY
  • ZaraPiext
    (2020-04-01 03:45:41Z)

    coronavirus warning
    http://chloroquine-treatmentforcoronavirus.com/# - chloroquine phosphate 250mg online
    coronavirus 8000
    chloroquine 250mg
    - coronavirus racism
    6 coronavirus cases

    REPLY
  • ZaraPiext
    (2020-04-01 09:08:31Z)

    coronavirus 7th case us
    http://chloroquine-treatmentforcoronavirus.com/# - chloroquine phosphate 250mg
    coronavirus greenland
    chloroquine phosphate 250 mg
    - coronavirus 4th us
    coronavirus 90000

    REPLY
  • ZaraPiext
    (2020-04-01 11:37:34Z)

    coronavirus people collapsing
    http://chloroquine-treatmentforcoronavirus.com/# - chloroquine phosphate online
    coronavirus how to say
    anti coronavirus drugs
    - coronavirus 2012
    coronavirus philadelphia

    REPLY
  • Zartodoky
    (2020-04-02 06:57:06Z)

    2 coronavirus in california
    http://chloroquine-phosphate-250mg.com/# - chloroquine
    coronavirus numbers
    chloroquine coronavirus
    - coronavirus 4 continents
    coronavirus 2020 update

    REPLY
  • Zartodoky
    (2020-04-02 19:49:49Z)

    coronavirus 3 mortality rate
    http://chloroquine-phosphate-250mg.com/# - chloroquine coronavirus
    coronavirus africa
    chloroquine covid-19
    - is coronavirus a cold
    coronavirus jalisco

    REPLY
  • Zartodoky
    (2020-04-03 00:27:15Z)

    coronavirus em portugues
    http://chloroquine-phosphate-250mg.com/# - chloroquine aralen
    coronavirus in michigan
    chloroquine phosphate 250mg
    - 2 coronavirus in usa
    coronavirus examples

    REPLY

Top News: Latin America