Immigrant Essential Workers are Crucial to America’s COVID-19 Recovery

Date of Publication: 
July, 2020
Source Organization: 

There are almost 23 million immigrant essential workers in the U.S., making up nearly one in five workers in the total U.S. essential workforce. This paper explores the critical role immigrants play in occupations essential to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. As the report outlines, despite the risks these immigrants face providing essential services to Americans throughout the pandemic, nearly six million essential immigrant workers (including those on temporary non-immigrant visas, seasonal non-immigrants, Dreamers, and those without documentation) lack clear pathways to citizenship. In fact, undocumented immigrants constitute one of the largest groups of immigrant essential workers (5.2 million) and most of them are well established in their communities (71 percent have lived in the U.S. for ten or more years). The report argues Congress should include all essential workers, regardless of immigration status, in COVID-19 relief legislation. Given the outsized contributions of undocumented people, Dreamers, temporary workers, and seasonal agricultural workers to both frontline occupations and long-term recovery, a key part of this relief should include the creation of pathways to lawful permanent residence for all immigrant essential workers. As the report argues, this action would recognize that immigrant essential workers are “vital to the COVID 19 recovery effort” and “an integral part of the U.S. economy.” (Jillian DiPersio for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

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Citation: (2020, December 6). Immigrant Essential Workers are Crucial to America’s COVID-19 Recovery.