The more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States are being hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic as that population deals with the fears of being deported and economic hardship as a result of the outbreak.
According to a recent survey by the Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights in California, undocumented immigrants and their relatives are more worried about the economic toll of the coronavirus than actually becoming infected. Among those surveyed, 95 percent were worried about paying bills while 89 percent of the population was more concerned about losing work.
Andrea Flores, the deputy director of policy for the Equality Division of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the virus is weighing on the immigrant population.
"This is preventing immigrant families from being able to support themselves and to take care of their families in terms of accessing care and buying groceries," said Flores. "They won't have access to the same safety net benefits that Congress may be putting forth for citizens."
While President Trump has said undocumented immigrants should be able to get tested without the threat of being arrested or deported, many immigrants are still living in fear of ICE. Currently, the ACLU's position is that ICE enforcement that could deter people from seeking care should be suspended . The ACLU agrees that the last thing ICE should be doing during a 'stay at home' order is making immigrants feel scared to access healthcare or be afraid to go to the grocery store.
"Immigration status doesn't matter at a time like this," said Flores. "This public health crisis impacts everybody and it's important for your neighbors to be tested."