A new study released on Wednesday (December 16) by the pro-immigration reform group FWD.US reveals that more than two-thirds of undocumented imigrant workers have “essential” frontline jobs fighting the coronavirus.
69 percent of undocumented have jobs deemed essential by the Department of Homeland Security, according to the study, which is based on the 2019 American Community Survey by the Census Bureau. The study also estimates that nearly one in five essential workers is an immigrant.
Undocumented immigrants make up 11 percent of agriculture workers, 2 percent of healthcare workers, and 6 percent of food services and production workers, the study says.
Additionally, the study found that 70 percent of the immigrants working in essential jobs have lived in the United States for more than 10 years and 60 percent speak English. Nearly one million of the essential workers are “Dreamers” protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Act, which was enacted by President Barack Obama.
One DACA recipient, Jonathan Rodas, works as an operating room assistant at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center while attending nursing school. He says his entire family tested positive for COVID-19 in July. And while all of his loved ones have recovered from the disease with no hospitalizations, he’s especially worried about his undocumented stepfather because he’s not able to obtain health insurance.
“There’s not a lot of people out there who want to do that job because they’re scared of it,” Rodas said, according to NBC News. “I’m scared of it. But I do it for the patient. The passion that I have to help people out.”