The undersigned individuals and organizations, from our work and experience in the sectors of public health and workplace health and safety, respectfully request that you end the illogical exclusion of the undocumented population from your pandemic response, and that you take immediate action to ensure that all migrant workers and their families receive the necessary support that this moment demands.
We represent many years – decades – of work, of experience and knowledge, developing our presence and relationships with communities and regions as diverse as the immigrant population nationwide. It is because of this work and commitment that your governments have entrusted us with the implementation of government programs in public health and workers rights. We are the health and safety trainers, the doctors, the public health promoters, and the community health clinics that you have always counted on.
From the public health perspective, an effective response to the coronavirus pandemic requires on a very fundamental level: (1) the inclusion of the entire population, regardless of immigration status, and (2) the recognition of the central role of worker centers and local grassroots (civil society) groups to ensure the access of marginalized communities.
There was already a crisis of vulnerability for various sectors of work in the US, and the pandemic has made this vulnerability more acute. Workers continue to get sick, and they continue to die from COVID-19,1 with a heightened and disproportionate impact on the Latinx and African American populations as compared to the population as a whole.2 Policies that exclude the undocumented immigrant population from federal and state support only exacerbate the crisis, causing a greater loss of life and suffering. In addition, the mental health impact of this crisis and of this exclusion is rarely discussed, but has an impact no less palpable in people’s lives.3