How to Help Migrant Workers and Their Families

It’s indisputable that migrant workers play a critical role in the U.S. economy, food supply, and society. Not only do they handle a large portion of the agricultural and food production work, but they also fulfill a lot of domestic and service jobs that many Americans want nothing to do with. 

Despite this, many migrant workers — particularly undocumented immigrants and their families — have taken a big hit from the COVID-19 pandemic, and many continue to struggle despite how much the country is opening. And without the option of government assistance, they have essentially been left to fend for themselves. Know All The Things presents a list of tips and resources for how everyday Americans can help their immigrant neighbors in need: 

The Facts

Knowing the role migrant workers play in our country, as well as their challenges, is the first step in determining how you can help. 

  • Especially in New York City, immigrants have long been the backbone of the American Dream.
  • Marketplace notes that migrant workers account for 17 percent of the total U.S. workforce, many of which have lost their jobs due to COVID-19.
  • Including state and local taxes, undocumented workers contribute 11.7 billion dollars to the U.S. economy, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.
  • Without a Social Security number, neither migrant workers nor their families were eligible for the government relief packages. 
  • Because of the nature of their jobs, many migrant workers and their families are particularly at risk for COVID-19. However, the lack of testing resources and fear of deportation, among other issues, keep many from receiving medical attention. 

Legal and Financial Issues

Managing your finances and grappling with the legal system can be exceptionally difficult for migrant workers and their families. These resources can direct them to assistance.

  • Migrant workers who need legal representation may be wondering how to find a lawyer. These tips can help them find attorneys who are well-versed in immigration law.
  • Many migrant workers deal with food insecurity. Finding a local food bank can help ease their worries.
  • The children of migrant workers may need help paying for higher education. These scholarships can provide much-needed support.
  • For those who want to transfer money back to family members in their home countries, Remitly makes the process easy. For instance, you can send money to the Dominican Republic for as little as $4.99. If you’re sending money to Mexico, there’s a special limited time offer of 21.50 Mexican pesos per US dollar on your first transfer!

Protection From COVID-19

Here are some practical ways that you can advocate for better working and living conditions for migrant workers.

  • Advocate for higher wages and higher quality of housing for migrant workers, especially those in agriculture and food production. 
  • Support paid sick leave for migrant workers. That way, when they are ill, they don’t have to choose between risking the spread of coronavirus and losing their livelihoods. 
  • Push for measures that will protect undocumented workers from deportation, penalty, or job loss should they need to seek medical care at a hospital or healthcare facility. 

You can be a part of changing the tide for migrant workers in the U.S. Continue researching and learning about the challenges being faced by many migrant workers and their families during the pandemic. Connect those in need with legal and financial assistance. Finally, advocate for better working and living conditions.

Featured Photo by Daisy OBryan on Unsplash