Report: Non-citizens Face a Disproportionate Risk from COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit our country hard. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reports that 644,751 cases of the virus have been confirmed in the state as of August 20th, 2020. More than 5.7 million cases have been reported nationwide. While the pandemic is affecting everyone, some communities are facing a disproportionate impact from the outbreak.

Recently, researchers for the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) published a comprehensive report highlighting the threat that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on non-citizens, especially on undocumented immigrants. Here, our Los Angeles immigration lawyers provide an overview of the key findings.

Three Ways the Pandemic Poses a Disproportionate Risk to Noncitizen Immigrants

Non-citizens are More Likely to Live in Larger Households and Urban Areas

Social distancing is one of the key tools that we have to slow the transmission of the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has noted that people in larger households and in urban areas may be at higher risk of being exposed to COVID-19 simply because they are more likely to come in contact with more people. The KFF found that noncitizen immigrants are nearly 50 percent more likely to live in households with four or more people than native born American citizens. Unfortunately, this means that the virus can spread quickly throughout the same household.

Immigrant Workers are Essential—Cannot Work Remotely

The American economy relies on the contributions of immigrant workers. Without immigrants, we would rapidly lose our global competitiveness. The Kaiser Family Foundation notes that there are more than 13 million non-citizens currently working in the United States. Unfortunately, immigrant workers are more likely to be exposed to COVID-19 on the job. Many immigrant workers are essential to perform tasks that cannot be done remotely. For example, many of California’s most pronounced COVID-19 clusters have been in agricultural communities. In these jobs, workers have been putting themselves at risk to keep our country fed throughout the crisis. Many other immigrants are essential workers in other industries.

Non-citizens Immigrants Less Likely to Have Health Insurance

Noncitizen immigrants are less likely to have health insurance coverage than native born American citizens. Excluding senior citizens, the KFF report estimates that 33 percent of non-citizens lack health insurance coverage. That is compared to less than 9 percent of U.S. citizens. Undocumented immigrants in particular often have trouble accessing health resources in the United States. It is a huge problem during the COVID-19 pandemic, as uninsured immigrants may have trouble getting tested or treated if they come in contact with the virus.

Call Our California Immigration Attorney for Legal Guidance

At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, we are strong, focused advocates for immigrant rights. With a proven record of success handling a wide range of immigration matters, our lawyers will protect your rights and help you find the best solution. There is always a path forward. Contact us now for a confidential consultation. We provide immigration law services in Los Angeles and beyond.