Migrant Working Life During A Pandemic

What had originally started as a few cases in parts of the world, to becoming an ongoing phenomenon, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the functioning of our society. For those who have started their post-migration life in the United States, this means much more, as there is now a larger reliance on those in the agricultural, health, and service industry.

Providing for one’s family is just a small fraction of the many concerns that migrant essential workers face as their progress towards post-migration adjustment is being halted by the unforeseen circumstances of the pandemic. With 22 percent of migrant workers representing the food industry and 17 percent of the health service industry, they are pushed to work longer hours and expose themselves to high-risk environments. The responsibility of producing as if nothing has changed, is placed on the shoulders of these workers who may not even know the extent of their impact as this is just a normal workday for them.

Most of these foreign-born individuals migrate to the United States in search of a prosperous life, financial opportunity, to escape war and gang violence as well as persecution. In addition to being limited in resources and familial networks, fear of deportation and language barriers create further difficulty in adaptation and acculturation when entering a new life in the United States. These unique circumstances, paired with the new overwhelming responsibility to provide for a family and now, a nation who depends on the work of migrants to keep the economy and societal functioning afloat, can be much to handle. The strongest individuals during this time are migrant workers making sacrifices to ensure that there is still a sense of normality in the wake of an ongoing pandemic.

With the praise that comes from the humility presented by those putting their life on the line to ensure that the people of the United States have comfort during this difficult time, there poses questions as to how this group will benefit, if at all from giving so much. While there is much up in the air as far as travel bans, work authorization renewal, and court hearings, there can be a case to be made for immigration waiver cases through clinical evaluations for working immigrants. By sharing the details of their work experiences during the rise of COVID-19, and how it has impacted and strengthened them mentally, migrants can further use this information and more to present a case before a United States court of law to obtain waivers such as t-visas, u-visas, extreme hardship, spousal abuse, and political asylum. This is only a fraction of what can be done to give our migrant workers the much deserved assistance and benefits needed to prosper in the United States.

In summary, our migrant workers in all occupational fields are to thank for being able to visit medical clinics, grocery stores, eateries, etc. Without their relentless work and sacrifices on the frontlines, our economy would lose a large portion of its functioning and we as a nation would not be able to learn to live with this virus as we have now. To our migrant workers, your hard work and dedication does not go without notice, we thank you and celebrate you in this time where you have become our saviors.