Immigrant Healthcare Workers: The Unsung Heroes of the Pandemic

By: Jetzel Chavira

When I first heard of COVID-19, I had no idea what we were getting into. I reflect on the healthcare workers fighting frontlines against this contagious and deadly disease. About 2.9 million immigrant healthcare professionals played a vital role in fighting against COVID-19. And one of those 2.9 million healthcare workers was my mom. She immigrated to the United States at 8years old, but she went back in forth to Mexico ’till around the time she was in middle school. She had me at 16 years old but despite these challenges with a newborn and practically being a single mother, she pursued respiratory care. She earned her associate’s degree in respiratory therapy. During the pandemic, she continued to work at the hospital, working directly with COVID-19 patients. I remember how fearful she was coming home to my little sister and I. Our laundry room was next to our car garage so she would change out of her scrubs in the laundry room to new clothes in order to take extra precautions. She was on the front lines fighting against the pandemic.

Whenever I hear immigrants steal jobs or don’t contribute to our society, I feel anger come over me because I think about my mom. There have been countless times when my mom has been afraid that she may be fired from her job due to her status. My mom does not deserve to live in fear. No one deserves to live in fear. 

So, I say let’s appreciate immigrant healthcare workers, instead of telling them to go back to their country.  

 

No Where to Go for Many Latina Women

By Patsy Campos

Image from Flickr.com

I recently came across an article in Latina Magazine which made me realize that many Latina women have an especially difficult time trying to escape from a life of domestic abuse.  It seems that no matter where these women go, they can’t get any support.

 Women in Latin America who have suffered years of violent abuse from their spouses have a difficult time getting support from uncooperative justice systems in their native country. Desperate to protect, themselves and their families, they flee to the United States seeking asylum.  However, due to immigration issues, these women are met with hostility and another uncooperative system. And because of immigration issues, the U.S. has made it difficult for Latina women to be granted asylum status even though they can provide evidence that they are in a violent situation back home.

Latina women are faced with a battle everywhere they go.  If they stay in their home country, they are risking their lives by living through sexual and physical abuse.  If they come to the United States, they are looked down upon because of their undocumented status and they risk being sent home where the abuse will more than likely continue.  This is really unfortunate.  The immigration issue is blinding people from the real issue – which is the need to protect these women from domestic abuse.  

As a Mexican-American, I understand the problems many of these women face, especially the undocumented women.  I have had personal experience with women in these circumstances.  I know that they live in fear every day. They fear the U.S. immigration system. They fear going back home.  But most of all, they fear for their lives.  I understand the immigration issue is sensitive, but the system needs to show some compassion for these women who need asylum and can prove that being sent home is a matter of life or death. Rather than worrying about their immigration status, the focus should be on protecting these women from not only the violent physical and sexual abuse from their spouses, but also the neglect of a corrupt system in their native countries that has failed to provide them with their basic human rights.