Friday, March 20, 2020

To the Immigrant Community

Dear immigrant community:
We are in a confusing, uncertain, and unprecedented moment with the global coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. Every day there is news about new cases, business closings, curfews, and other restrictions that affect our lives.
We must not panic, hoard resources that others also need, or spread misinformation. However, it is essential that we take this situation seriously to protect ourselves and our community.
The reality is the immigrant community is extremely vulnerable during this pandemic.
Until now, many of us have not been able to stop going to work. We also face various barriers to taking the best health precautions right now, including lack of access to health insurance, lack of information in our languages, and the ongoing fear of being detained or deported.
We are also worried for our families in our home countries, who are also living this global crisis — the daily pain of distance and borders is becoming even greater.
A public health crisis like this one reveals and worsens the profound inequalities that harm the 11 million undocumented immigrants every day.
We are part of an economy that expects us to work despite imminent risk of exposure. That expects us to stay quiet about massive layoffs that are already happening. As Cosecheros, we know that this country depends on our labor during and after this national crisis.
They want us to risk our lives while denying us medical care, pay for lost hours, and continuing to threaten us with ICE every day. It is not the moment to put our heads down and just do what this country expects of us. In the face of this pandemic, we must continue demanding dignity and respect. We must empower ourselves with information and preventative actions that fight against the idea that we should put ourselves at risk, just because we are undocumented workers.
Just as we organize in Cosecha to fight for permanent protection for the community, now we will organize to protect our health and support the community during these times.
The most important thing right now is “social distancing” or quarantine.
The most important thing right now is “social distancing” or quarantine, which means that everyone says home and commits to only leaving the house for essential reasons (buying food or medicine, going to work if absolutely necessary). A concerning fact about COVID-19 is that a seemingly healthy person can still have the virus without showing any symptoms and pass it to other people without knowing or meaning to cause harm.


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