The implications of the coronavirus are far-reaching and will particularly impact some of our most vulnerable communities, like the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.
Add to this list: immigrants, both documented and undocumented.
Documented immigrants already feel the pressure of a politicized national immigration rhetoric due to numerous policy changes—from the wealth test known as public charge and the new denaturalization task force, to skyrocketing difficulty in obtaining professional work visas and never-before-seen delays in adjudicating cases at Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Legal immigrants have been avoiding engagement with health centers out of fear that if they use public benefits that they are lawfully entitled to, it may hurt their ability to naturalize or to sponsor a loved one for a visa.
This means pregnant women, mothers with sick children and many others are foregoing important medical treatment out of fear.
Undocumented immigrants have even more reason to worry with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announcing that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) tactical units are being sent into communities, and detention rates for those with no criminal convictions rising significantly.
Furthermore, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has refused to designate courts as “sensitive locations”—areas where they agree not to “pick-up” individuals without status. In many parts of the U.S., undocumented individuals participating in court hearings are picked up by ICE—even if they are there simply because they are testifying as witnesses to a crime.
With these policies and the administration’s vilification of immigrants, undocumented immigrants are afraid to come forward for medical treatment.
Read more on MsMagazine.com.