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How COVID-19 Impacts the Undocumented

Those who are undocumented are particularly vulnerable to the impact of COVID-19.  

Undocumented students: 

  • May suffer from hunger, since they rely on schools’ free meals. 
  • May lack devices such as iPads and laptops that allow them to stay connected with their schools for distance learning.  
  • May have parents or guardians who work long hours and often work more than one job. As a result, older children may be responsible for caring for younger siblings, which could cause them to lag further behind their peers educationally.  

NPR reports that the undocumented, especially in urban areas, may be more susceptible to the virus because they are more likely to live in densely populated housing and use public transportation. They tend to have lower incomes than native-born workers, and studies have shown low socioeconomic status can lead to adverse health outcomes. Also, among undocumented immigrants, fear of deportation might prevent them from seeking medical care if they are sick. 

Advocates and family of those held in detention centers and shelters have expressed fear that crowded and less-than-sanitary conditions make them extra vulnerable to COVID-19.

Furthermore, USA Today reports that those who are undocumented may be struggling more than others because their jobs are disappearing, they often have no company-sponsored health insurance, and they won’t be receiving government relief checks from the $2 trillion aid package.  


This story is part of our Teaching Through Trauma series.

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