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  • Central American migrants move forward after crossing the Suchiate River on the border between Guatemala and Mexico, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas, in southeastern Mexico, on January 23, 2020.

    Central American migrants move forward after crossing the Suchiate River on the border between Guatemala and Mexico, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas, in southeastern Mexico, on January 23, 2020. | Photo: Xinhua

Published 14 April 2020

COVID-19 has been a blow to everyone, but it has hit the so-called “minorities” the hardest.

On the one hand, plaintive conservatism in the United States tells the undocumented immigrant: “Get out of here, illegals.” But, on the other hand, no one seems to complain that a large part of the immigrant population harvests all the fruits and vegetables; no one complains that immigrants are taking care of the sick in hospitals; that they continue to deliver food, do construction work, work in supermarkets, care for the elderly-- risking their own health and their own lives.

Today many undocumented workers are “cornered” with the usual constant fear and wondering, “how will I pay the rent, when will this madness end?” This is just where Trump and his cronies want them. And all of this is thanks to a virus that has been unleashed all over the world and that has hit very hard in the United States.

COVID-19 has been a blow to everyone, but it has hit the so-called “minorities” the hardest. They are the ones who are dying the most during this pandemic. And to make matters worse, due to the current health crisis, immigrants will be able to send very little or no money home to their respective countries--money that is usually invested in schools, housing construction, rent, medicine, and small businesses.

Art by Brian Herrera

Immigrants have the disadvantage that, with or without a pandemic,  the current President and several governors, congressmen, senators, and mayors, will not mind letting them die. They will only be treated as “essential workers” whenever it is convenient for the government and large corporations that exploit their cheap labor.

We must be very clear that in the face of a pandemic the battle is everyone’s battle, and to turn our backs on migrant workers is to turn our backs on the rest of the population. Because COVID-19 is fought with the participation of all, not with the exclusion of certain sectors of the population.

Although reactionary conservatives may not like to hear it, immigrant workers are essential, without a doubt, and always have been.

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