Many progressives who welcomed poor illegal migrants are now complaining that millions of illegal migrants are unprotected in the nation’s epidemic and economic crash, according to press reports and activists’ demands.
“This is one result of illegal immigration that the apologists for illegal immigration don’t like to acknowledge,” said Jessica Vaughan, policy director at the Center for Immigration Studies. She continued:
The [migrant] people who are encouraged to come by here by our progressives … end up being the most vulnerable to disasters of all kinds, whether it is a pandemic, or a hurricane, a sudden change in economic conditions, workplace injuries, or any kind of medical condition because they usually do not have insurance and are not eligible for government programs.
“You can call this an ideological bailout of the progressives,” she added. “They facilitated the arrival of these illegal migrants, and now they are demanding that taxpayers foot the bill.”
Progressives are also joining with business groups to call for a bailout of the businesses that hired illegals instead of hiring educated, healthy, and trained Americans, she said:
The businesses don’t have to pay the full [societal] cost of their cheap labor, so the true cost of supporting this low-wage, vulnerable population is to be born by taxpayers … because taxpayers and [state and local] government are picking up the tab for the social, health, and safety networks that these exploited illegal workers now need.
For example, Breitbart News reported April 8:
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued an order Tuesday ensuring illegal aliens have access to the city’s coronavirus relief benefits.
The order essentially guarantees those residing in her city unlawfully will be able to access aid programs offered by the city. Those include housing assistance grants, providing grants of $1,000 to go toward a mortgage or rent, access to the Small Business Resiliency Fund, which provides low-interest loans to small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and access to “online enrichment learning resources, including more than 100,000 devices for families who lack access to technology for remote learning,” according to CBS Chicago.
“Undocumented immigrants and their families, including more than 5 million children who are U.S. citizens, were left out of the disaster relief package enacted last month,” said a Washington Post April 8 op-ed by
This is morally abhorrent, and it’s self-destructive to the larger aim of stamping out this pandemic. Our health is tied to their health, and our economy is tied to their well-being. When excluding some creates outsize risks for all, it is imperative that Congress extend to everyone, regardless of immigration status, any health and economic supports intended to ward off or mitigate the ravages of the virus.
So far, Congress has not moved to bail out companies or cities that bet on cheap labor. In March, Breitbart News reported that the city’s comptroller, Scott Stringer, sought a bailout for the many blue-collar New Yorkers who have been impoverished by the elite-backed flood of cheap migrant labor.
Vox.com said April 1:
The unauthorized worker population is particularly vulnerable to the virus due to inadequate access to health care. Noncitizens are significantly more likely to be uninsured compared to US citizens, which may dissuade them from seeking medical care if they contract the virus.
And absent financial relief for the population of unauthorized immigrants workers in particular, many may try to continue going to work despite public health warnings to stay home, which could further spread the virus and pose a risk to public health.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) touted an op-ed in the Boston Globe that reported that the illegal migrants welcomed by progressives now face extraordinary pressure to keep working amid the disease:
Not only are these immigrants — mostly Latino, many of them here without legal status — the most economically vulnerable, but a high proportion of them already have limited access to health care and other public support networks. Working from home is a privilege that they simply don’t have.
On April 4, the Washington Post provided painful examples of migrants who have been exploited and abandoned by employers and progressives:
“They told me to stay at home, don’t go out, and when I can no longer breathe, call 9-1-1 for them to pick me up,” Cano said.
Construction had been a step up for Cano. When she first came to the U.S. more than a year ago, she patched together a living at a Salvadoran restaurant, earning $50 for 13 hours of overnight work cleaning and preparing pupusas for delivery. When the till came up short, she said, the cashier would dock the difference from Cano’s earnings. One night, she made so little that she had to borrow the $2.75 bus fare home.
In its second-to-last paragraph, the Post inserted a progressive fix for the progressive problem:
Perhaps when this is all over, [Jerry from Uganda] said, the American public will recognize how undocumented immigrants risked their lives to help during a time of crisis. In another burst of optimism, he said he hopes that the government would grant legal status to parents of U.S. citizens and other immigrants who have long paid taxes.
The Los Angeles Times provided more examples of exploited migrants:
Despite being 73 with diabetes, [Carlos] Garcia couldn’t afford to stop working. His employer hadn’t said anything about the virus to workers, provided them with extra protective gear or supplied extra hand-washing stations, he said.
[Genevieve Flores-Haro] said the translations [of medical safety guidelines] were crucial because those languages rely heavily on context. Unlike in Spanish, for example, there is no word for “virus” in Mixtec, so the sickness must instead be described in detail. About half of farmworkers between Oxnard and Watsonville are indigenous, she said.
Farmworkers in California make $26,000 a year, on average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many families share a home with other families and drive to work in crowded vehicles, making physical distancing difficult. Health issues, including asthma and diabetes, are common among workers, Flores-Haro said.
Boston-based WBUR reported April 8:
Petrona worked as a housekeeper until the state ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Now the single mother of two young children with only a few dollars in savings and unable to qualify for unemployment because of her legal status, her main source of information is what she sees on her phone.
“The truth is I’m getting my information from Facebook,” she says in Spanish. “I don’t have cable.” Nor does she have internet or a computer. Just a TV with an antenna.
Petrona was born in Guatemala speaking the Quiché language. She has lived in the U.S. for 14 years. She hasn’t learned English and Spanish isn’t even her first language.
Business groups and progressives want to hoard their gain from illegal migration — and also to impose the costs on Americans, said Vaughan:
They insist on having it both ways. They claim that illegal migrants are a benefit to the economy and country, and then when it turns out the migrants are the most needy, they demand welfare programs and services that they previously insisted were not necessary.
The progressives are demanding that [American] communities fix a problem that progressives created in cahoots with employers.
You can’t blame the poor migrants for acting on all the incentives created by the progressives — but now they are the ones twisting in the wind.
In contrast, if business and government had cooperated to shrink illegal migration, Americans would be better able to overcome the coronavirus crash, she said:
We would, first of all, have less of an [medically] uninsured population, and more public funds available to deal with this emergency. American and legal immigrants would have built up more of their own personal safety nets as a result of higher earnings over the years. Those few percentage points of lost income each year translates to a lot of lost wealth that people might have had available to cushion the blow.