Crisis within a Crisis: Immigration in the United States in a Time of COVID-19

Good overview by Muzaffar Chishti and Sarah Pierce of MPI on the cumulative impact of US immigration restrictions and related policies on COVID-19 (conclusion):

Relief for Some, But Not All

Once the severity of the health and economic crisis precipitated by the pandemic became evident, Congress passed—and the president signed—two emergency aid packages offering economic and other assistance. A far larger, “Phase 3” estimated $2 trillion-dollar package has been approved by the Senate, awaiting House action. It would provide important medical coverage for Americans who are uninsured and an economic cushion in the form of cash payments, extended unemployment insurance benefits, and other income supports for many impacted by the sharp economic decline and rising joblessness. But the aid package excludes a large section of the noncitizen population. For the medical benefits, the bill excludes even a substantial-share of green-card holders—those who have held legal permanent residence for less than five years. And the economic relief and tax rebate provisions exclude more than 4 million immigrant workers, typically unauthorized, who pay income taxes but use Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) instead of Social Security numbers to file their tax returns. Advocates had been able to get these provisions included in a House draft that ultimately was not considered; they undoubtedly will plan to push for these to be addressed in future coronavirus-relief legislation.

Immigrant advocates note that foreign-born workers, legal and unauthorized alike, not only constitute a sizeable number of those in critical occupations on the frontlines of fighting the pandemic, they also work disproportionately in non-salaried, nonpermanent jobs, living close to the margin. At the other end of the debate, some conservatives have argued in favor of reserving taxpayer funds for the U.S. born, and in particular object to including unauthorized immigrants. Yet excluding workers who are among the most vulnerable in society from critical safety-net benefits would compromise the effectiveness of the entire aid package and recovery from a virus that makes no distinction based on national origin, immigration status, or income level, experts have noted.

There are no parallels to the multidimensional challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented the United States and the world in this globalized and economically interdependent era in which we live. The vast public health crisis and resulting economic freefall require a global response, and certainly a unified and robust national response where all institutions and individuals are responding to their fullest potential. A set of policies that intentionally or inadvertently discourages a subset of the population from fully participating—without fear or repercussion—in this war against the invisible enemy compromises the wellbeing and lives of all of us.

Source: new article

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

3 Responses to Crisis within a Crisis: Immigration in the United States in a Time of COVID-19

  1. Dave says:

    Deport the “4 million immigrant workers, typically unauthorized, … “. Leftist speak for illegal aliens.

  2. Randall Emery says:

    Hi Andrew,

    I hope you and your family are well.

    l have been working on this issue in the US, with a non profit that l started there representing US citizens who married someone who was not also a US citizen.

    You might be interested to know that the issue goes a little further even than mentioned below. I say that because the US government is not just excluding non US citizens, but many citizens as well. In the US married couples typically file on one return (akin to the tax splitting idea in Canada, but simplified). The package in the US excludes payments to the entire family unit if they filed together last year if just one person does not have a social security number, but instead has a tax payer ID.

    MPl pegs this number at 1,247,000 families in the US. With an average family size of 3.14, we are talking about 2.6 million US citizens (2.14 * 1,247,000) in addition to US residents who will also see no relief.

    Anyway, you have my thanks for sending on the information below.

    Best wishes, Randall

    On Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 7:16 AM Multicultural Meanderings wrote:

    > Andrew posted: “Good overview by Muzaffar Chishti and Sarah Pierce of MPI > on the cumulative impact of US immigration restrictions and related > policies on COVID-19 (conclusion): Relief for Some, But Not All Once the > severity of the health and economic crisis precipita” >

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: