Viruses don’t recognize borders. Yet the labels and legal statuses that we assign to people can carry deadly consequences. The global COVID-19 pandemic is throwing into sharp relief the intersection of U.S. immigration and public health policies. We see the consequences for immigrants in inequities in the chance of getting sick or accessing health care, as well as the disparate economic and personal impact of the pandemic. Even though the virus is blind to people’s citizenship or visa status, immigrants can be especially vulnerable to infection, serious illness, financial hardship, and hateful discrimination.
The Berkeley Interdisicplinary Migration Inititiative has developed an interactive mapping tool to visualize at-risk immigrant populations, including foreign-born without health insurance or living under the poverty line, and access to healthcare in the United States. The map uses data on COVID-19 infections rates from the New York Times, data on health clinics and hospitals from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and demographic data from the American Community Survey (5-year 2018 estimates).
Read more about why immigrants are especially at-risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. This recent piece published on the Social Science Matrix website written by Prof. Irene Bloemraad and Dr. Jasmijn Slootjes highlights why immigrants are facing a higher risk of infection with COVID-19, more obstacles to accessing healthcare, and disparate economic impacts.