What is life like for undocumented immigrants who become ill with COVID?

Many immigrants, regardless of their legal status, work in high risk professions that make working at home, or in a safe distance from co-workers, nearly impossible. NPR’s Joseph Shapiro explains,

 It’s hard to track how many undocumented immigrants get COVID-19. But they are high risk, says David Hayes-Bautista, who directs the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Not only do they often lack health insurance, many live in crowded homes with multiple generations of families. And many work in jobs where exposure to the coronavirus is high — as aides in nursing homes, as farmworkers or in meat-packing plants or…in restaurants.

Listen to one story to hear about the challenges faced by one undocumented immigrant in Chicago who faces long term health challenges after being hospitalized for COVID.

Reflection Questions and Teaching Activities

As you listen to the story, note what you:

  • Hear
  • Feel
  • Think
  • Wonder

How does this story reveal who we are as humans?

Consider the significance of this story, ask:

  • Why does this story matter to me?
  • Why does it matter to my community?
  • Why does it matter to the world?

What does this story reveal about the rights of people with ambiguous status (people who are not clearly recognized by the State) and the challenges they face? What does it suggest about how individuals, including José and his family, and societies manage ambiguous status?


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