Post by Baraka Kiingi. Colgate class of 2022.
Source: Tharoor, Ishaan. “Migrants Are the Unsung Heroes of the Pandemic.” The Washington Post, 3 Apr. 2020.
This article’s aim is to reveal the injustice that immigrants who are essential to the economy and health of the United States face during this Coronavirus pandemic. The Covid-19 protocol has many immigrant workers (documented and undocumented) continuing to work as nurses, doctors, drivers, and manual field laborers that help provide food. The article presents a statistic that shows that migrant workers are essential to the United Sates economy: “of the 400,000 agricultural workers in California, 60-75 percent may be undocumented migrants, mostly from Mexico.” The article points out how it is ironic that these migrant workers are considered illegal while at the same time they are seen as “essential” during this pandemic. It is unfair that these laborers are continuing to work in conditions where they are not provided safety equipment, and there is no requirement for social distancing. Furthermore, there has been a $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package passed by Congress, and these essential workers who are undocumented receive nothing; they do not even have access to health care if they get sick. In looking at legal immigrants, a referenced 2018 study revealed that “17 percent of the American health-care-workforce was not born in the United States – 1 out 5 pharmacists and 1 out of 3 physicians were foreign born,” which shows the contribution of migrants in the health sector. Even though the U.S. is closing its borders to any kind of migration during this pandemic, so many migrants are the heroes of the United States, but they are not being recognized for their contribution in healing and aiding native Americans in this chaotic time.
At least 27,000 U.S. health-care workers came to the country as undocumented children. Their status was protected under Obama, but now Trump’s administration threatens their status, and many others like them, which seems unfair and unjust considering this crisis. In class, I have learned how immigrants are essential in keeping the economy progressing. From low-skilled immigrants who are participating in jobs that natives do not want to have, like agricultural workers and maids, to high skilled workers in medical and technology jobs, immigrants are an essential part of the country, and it is essential to recognize how much they contribute.