COVID-19’s Effects on U.S. Immigration and Immigrant Communities, Two Years On

Julia Gelatt and Muzaffar Chishti
Date of Publication: 
June, 2022
Source Organization: 
Migration Policy Institute

This report examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on recent U.S. immigration policy, immigration to the country, and the nation’s immigrant communities.  Among topics covered are: changes in immigration policy in response to the pandemic; the impacts of these changes on migration trends; the role of immigrants in the fight against COVID-19; the impact of the pandemic on immigrants’ health, including infection and death rates in selected states and industries; and vaccination rates and attitudes among immigrants.  The report also looks at the impact of the economic downturn on immigrant communities. Some of the key findings are the following:  1) The pandemic led to sharp drops in immigration; 2) Foreign-born workers were employed at high rates in jobs essential to keeping the country running during lockdowns; 3) Immigrants experienced higher unemployment rates during the height of COVID-19 lockdowns, and many immigrant families have suffered economic hardship; 4) Early evidence suggests immigrants have had higher death rates from COVID-19 than the U.S. born;  5) As many immigrants were ineligible for key elements of the safety net and excluded from federal pandemic relief efforts, states, localities, and nongovernmental actors worked to fill some of the gaps. The report concludes with a discussion of selected policy adaptations, social service innovations, and relief programs that have been implemented as well as lessons learned for responding to the ongoing pandemic and future public-health crises. (Robert Like, MD, MS)

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Gelatt, J., & Chishti, M. (2022). COVID-19’s Effects on U.S. Immigration and Immigrant Communities, Two Years On. Migration Policy Institute.