How Will The Coronavirus Impact Immigrants In Our State?

08 April 2020 Written by  

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our communities in so many ways. Unfortunately, for many immigrant families this has disproportionately created more obstacles in their lives. Mixed-status and undocumented immigrants were largely left out of the support provided by the CARES Act. This means, that immigrants who use Individual Tax Identification Numbers (ITINs) will not receive stimulus checks and will not have access to unemployment benefits. This represents a large portion of the 100,000 undocumented immigrants living in our state. 

In the past two weeks, we have met with different community organizations, grassroots efforts, and partners who work with mixed-status and undocumented families. With so much changing, these are some of the needs being faced by our fellow immigrant community members including: access to short financial support, access to information that is culturally and linguistically appropriate, and a digital divide where families are lacking access to Wi-Fi, tablets, and support to access online learning.

With these needs growing, there are opportunities for leaders in our state to support immigrants in our state. As the needs change, we will continue to work towards more intentional policies for immigrant families. As of now, some policy recommendations include:

  • Ensuring that all immigrants regardless of status have access to testing and treatment for the coronavirus
  • Supporting the 100% Kids Coverage Campaign to ensure all children have health insurance regardless of status
  • Providing outreach and enrollment funding that is culturally and linguistically appropriate about public programs including Medicaid, CHIP, and SNAP
  • Supporting childcare needs for immigrant essential workers, regardless of their immigration status
  • Finding opportunities for financial support for immigrant families who are ineligible for the stimulus checks
  • Making public statements of support for all immigrants and refugees in our state

Immigrant families in Utah are our friends, family members, and neighbors. They are on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic and vital to our state. We will continue to work with policymakers and leaders to ensure policies made support immigrant families and children in our state.

For more resources that immigrant families can access, please visit this link.

CiriacHealth Policy and Community Engagement Fellow

Ciriac is a proud immigrant who is passionate about immigrant rights, education, and health care. She is a community organizer, poet, and writer who uses her voice and online platform to advocate for her community.

During her undergraduate she was heavily involved in creating access to higher education for undocumented students on the University of Utah campus. After graduating, she has continued to work closely with the Enriching Utah Coalition (EUC) and serves as the Immigration Chair for the Utah Coalition of la Raza (UCLR) board to work on immigrant justice issues.

Ciriac graduated with a B.S. in Political Science and Honors Sociology  from the University of Utah. She was born in Cuernavaca Morelos, Mexico and grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is excited to join Voices for Utah Children as the Health Policy and Community Engagement Fellow and hopes to continue her education by obtaining a J.D. or M.P.A.