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Low-income immigrant communities may very well be facing the brunt of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. While public health experts and government officials are urging people to stay at home, many in these communities can’t afford to remain indoors. Many migrants in the United States are still at work, often in essential jobs with little security in the labor, retail, and service industries. These workers also may not have health insurance or the option to take paid sick leave.

The threat is further compounded by limited access to healthcare. While uninsured immigrants often depend on local community health clinics, some are currently facing funding, staffing, and equipment shortages. A new policy measure recently enacted by the Trump administration is also causing further confusion and concern. The public charge rule, which went into effect last month, penalizes the use of federal benefits such as food stamps or Medicare, putting certain immigrants’ chances of getting approved for a green card or visa in jeopardy. The administration has instituted an exemption for treatment for COVID-19, but many opponents of the rule are concerned that it’s still keeping immigrants from seeking out vital healthcare.

In this episode, Vox politics and policy reporter Catherine Kim expands on her recent reporting on the challenges low-income immigrants face during a widespread pandemic.

Featured image by Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images.

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3 thoughts on “For Immigrant Communities, Coronavirus Is A Different Kind Of Threat

  1. I am an immigrant. My family were war refugees who waited in line to enter legally. Immigrants have always been “legal aliens” in contrast to illegal aliens or migrants.
    It is an insult to immigrants when you refer to migrants as immigrants.

  2. Fact Check: I noticed that the reporter interviewed, Catherine Kim, made a slight mistake when she said that the new public charge rule would make it harder for people to naturalize. I think she meant/should’ve said that it will make it harder for immigrants to gain residency. Now, because it will be harder for immigrants to gain residency, it follows that it will also be harder to get on a path toward citizenship/naturalization. However, I think it is vital that permanent residents/green card holders understand that public charge does not come into play at the citizenship/naturalization stage.

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