Report: COVID-19 is Hitting Immigrant Communities in Massachusetts

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 124,728 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the Commonwealth as of August 21st, 2020. Although the virus has affected virtually every community, some are being hit much harder than others. According to a report from the Boston Globe, immigrant communities in our state are facing a disproportionate impact from the pandemic.

A survey conducted by the Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition release found that immigrants are at heightened risk of facing COVID-19 exposure, lack of access to the health resources, financial stress, and racism. Here, our Boston immigration attorney highlights the key findings from the research report.

Three Quarters of Massachusetts Immigrant Households Have Lost a Job

The pandemic has caused significant disruption in Massachusetts. As the United States has failed to control the transmission of the virus, our country’s unemployment rate has skyrocketed. Immigrants are bearing a disproportionate share of the impact. To be sure, 76.4 percent of immigrants who responded to the survey report that someone in their household lost their job as a direct result of COVID-19 and the government shutdowns. As many immigrants also work in the informal economy—including performing domestic labor and gig positions—they faced an even sharper impact from the pandemic.

Not only did a higher share of immigrants get laid off, but they are frequently left out of government supported programs. A representative for the Coalition told the Boston Globe that the economic strain facing immigrant communities has been “exacerbated by their exclusion from crucial safety-net programs.” Undocumented immigrants are not able to access unemployment benefits or federal stimulus funds. The Trump Administration’s public charge rule and the confusion surrounding it has made the situation even more challenging. The inequity extends far beyond Massachusetts. Pew Research Center found that immigrant communities are being disproportionately impacted nationwide.

Many Immigrants Fear Race-Based Harassment in the Workplace

Sadly, immigrants are facing another threat from the virus: Racial discrimination. In recent months, many people all across the United States have started reckoning with the long-standing racial inequality in our country. Systematic racism is a serious and persistent problem. We need to do more to eliminate racism and racial inequity in our communities. Racism manifests itself in so many ways—and major crises like COVID-19 often show the problem.

As found by the Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition report, more racial minorities are reporting fear of discrimination in the workplace than did four years ago. Further, many Asian-American immigrants in the Commonwealth are worried about discrimination related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Black and Latino immigrants reported concerns about workplace discrimination as well.

Schedule a Confidential Consultation With a Boston Immigration Lawyer

At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our Massachusetts immigration attorneys are committed to providing supportive, reliable representation to our clients. We have a proven reputation for helping people find solutions to their immigration issues. Call our Boston office at (617) 722-0005 for a confidential initial appointment. We represent clients throughout the entire region, including in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, and New Hampshire.