Congress passed a coronavirus response bill to help with the emergency relief from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, undocumented immigrants are left out of the bill. Although some may not want to send aid to undocumented immigrants during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial to support them because they are overrepresented as essential workers and contribute billions of dollars in taxes.
The Current Situation For Undocumented Immigrants
Many undocumented immigrants are struggling to support their families and are not included in the coronavirus response bill. Even families with undocumented immigrants, who hold mixed immigration status, are not included despite paying taxes. Some non-profits are raising money to help families cover some costs, but there are still many families who are in need of aid.
Undocumented Immigrants Are Part Of Our Communities
While some believe that undocumented immigrants steal jobs and do not pay taxes, undocumented immigrants contribute about $12 billion in taxes. Furthermore, they contribute to the economy by supporting local businesses, and many start their own too. People may think undocumented immigrants are only benefiting from welfare programs, but they are ineligible for many social programs. Many studies have also shown that they contribute more in taxes than they receive from benefits.
Furthermore, undocumented immigrants are overrepresented as essential workers. It is estimated that about 11 million undocumented immigrants are working in processing plants, hospitals, and other front line jobs. Therefore, they are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. ICE has also stopped most of its enforcement activities for the time being, and immigrants are carrying letters stating they are essential workers. This points to the crucial roles that undocumented immigrants play in our communities and the importance of ensuring our legislation is supporting them.
Undocumented Immigrants Should Receive Financial Aid
California started giving financial aid to undocumented immigrants because they know the importance of diversity in our communities. Non-profits and government agencies have been overwhelmed with calls from undocumented immigrants. However, only about 150,000 families could receive help out of the millions in need. Although it is a start, there are more people in need of help. There are also groups suing the state because they believe it is illegal to use taxpayer money on undocumented immigrants. In times of a pandemic, we should be supporting each other. The pandemic impacts everyone, and undocumented immigrants are part of our community too. No matter one’s citizenship status, I believe they deserve financial aid during these crucial times, especially if they are working in the front lines to provide us basic necessities.
Undocumented Immigrants Should Receive Healthcare
New Jersey is introducing a bill to ensure immigrants have access to healthcare because many immigrants worry about not being able to afford health insurance. Undocumented immigrants are part of our community, and their health affects ours too. Many are working in the front lines as essential workers and have more exposure, so they should at least have basic healthcare. Therefore, they should have access to testing and treatment during the pandemic.
During the pandemic, undocumented immigrants are more recognized to have significant roles in their communities. Some states have already passed legislation to support immigrants because they are aware of the contributions made by them. I believe other states should do the same to support everyone through these hard times.