Our Survival Infra-Structure is staffed by Immigrants

In February, I wrote a blog – No Farmers, No Food. No Immigrants, No Farmers – that discussed the importance of Immigrants to American’s getting feed.  A client of mine who is a real estate developer wrote and said I had forgotten to discuss the importance of  immigrants to the construction industry. I thanked him for an idea for a future blog which will be written in due time but when I received an email from NewAmericanEconomy.org (NAE) about immigrants in the health care industry, I decided to write about that today. Before I wrote this blog, I told a friend what I was writing about. She thanked me saying that we need much more focus on the immigrants doing much of the work of keeping us alive and called this the “survival infra-structure”. She gave me permission to use her terminology and pointed out that they are also the people who are keeping part of our economy going and will be part of the engine of economic recovery when we get to that phase. She was referring to medical personnel but also to grocery store workers, delivery persons and those who clean and disinfest. Thank you, Jan, for your thoughts and your terminology.  

In the last email from NAE they pointed out that immigrants are “both especially vulnerable to this pandemic and critical to a successful response.”  NAE is continuing to work on the latest data analysis showing how immigrants are impacted and how they are on the front lines of this global crisis which I will no doubt share with you in another blog.  What they have provided this week is the following: 

  • Immigrants are fighting on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis as: 
    • Home Health Aides (36.5% immigrant)
    • Physicians (28.7% immigrant)
    • Personal Care Aides (25.1% immigrant)
    • Nursing Assistants (22.0% immigrant)
    • Surgeons (19.7% immigrant)
    • Registered Nurses (15.7% immigrant)
    • Respiratory Therapists (13.6% immigrant)
    • Psychiatrists (32% immigrant)
  • Immigrants are today’s “Survival Infra-structure” workers in health care and in support industries like Grocery and Supermarket workers (16.7% immigrants) and Food Delivery workers (18.2% immigrant).

The numbers provided by NAE are national numbers and I would suspect that in South Florida that immigrants make up a higher proportion than in the country as a whole. 

So, when we see news stories about all of the heroic people fighting the war on this virus, please remember that a significant proportion of those who are literally risking their lives for our health and safety are immigrants. 

Be safe and please contact us if we can help you with any immigration-related issues that you may have at this time.

Linda M Kaplan
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