The Pandemic of Covid19 was disruptive for every person around the world. The virus took a toll on various industries and individuals. However, one of the groups who did not receive much attention for the effects they’ve experienced due to the virus is immigrants. For those who were born outside of the United States, this pandemic was especially scary and unsettling. There were and are still many things to worry about, as the virus can put their healthy lives and immigrant status in the United States at grave risk. Below we will discuss how immigrants are being affected by this pandemic, as featured in an article on American Immigration Council.
Due to the rapid spread of the virus, many borders worldwide began to shut down, including the United States. By the start of February 2020, the US Government put in place five different travel restrictions on those who had been present in specific countries where the Covid-19 virus was occurring. As the virus became more widespread, the Department of State suspended routine visa services in entirety at all consulates and embassies worldwide. This canceled all services such as applications for family-based immigrant visas and nonimmigrant visas for skilled workers, students, and visitors.
The hardships do not stop there for immigrants. For those who are residing in the United States without status, the fear of the virus becomes intensified. If an undocumented immigrant becomes sick, the last thing they want to do is have to go to the hospital, as they do not want their identity to be discovered, and they also do not have health insurance in the country. The job market crashing was also a hard hit for immigrants, especially as they made up a large amount of the Covid-related unemployment rate.
In addition, for those who are currently being held in a United States Immigration Detention Center, the risk of being exposed to and being infected with Covid increases astronomically. The reason for this is because people living in detention centers cannot properly socially distance. They also have limited access to soap and must pay for hand sanitizer if they want to use it. Face masks have proven to be hardly distributed in these centers, if at all. There have been at least 6,000 people who have tested positive for Covid-19 in these ICE Detention Centers and at least eight deaths.