The coronavirus pandemic has created an additional difficulty for doctors who are immigrants, who make up one-quarter of doctors in the United States. Because they have H1-B visas, which are tied to their employment, their families could become undocumented in the event of their death. With health care personnel accounting for 20% of COVID-19 cases, this is not an insignificant fear during this crisis.
As the coronavirus has led to record unemployment, many immigrants with documentation who have lost their jobs have feared applying for unemployment, worrying that it will jeopardize their chance at securing a green card.
At the heart of this fear is the Trump administration’s public charge rule, which is aimed at counting participation in non-cash assistance programs against prospective new Americans. And while applying for unemployment does not fall under the public charge umbrella, this has still taken a toll on immigrant families.
While the Trump administration has turned away asylum-seekers and put a pause on green card applications, it has continued to deport people to countries that have fragile health systems and social safety nets.