Sixty-nine percent of undocumented immigrant workers in the United States hold jobs that the Department of Homeland Security deems “essential” during the current pandemic.
A report released by immigration advocacy group FWD.US says these frontline workers are crucial in the fight against the virus. The group adds that nearly one out of every five essential workers in the U.S. is undocumented, according to Census Bureau information.
2020 redefined “essential” workers
Immigrants serve a vital role in all cross-sections of the nation’s economy, from farmworkers to nursing. The survey estimates undocumented individuals make up:
- 11% of agricultural workers
- 6% of food services and production workers
- 2% of healthcare workers
Despite the crucial role immigrants play in the U.S., President Trump signed an executive order temporarily suspending immigration earlier in the year and later extended it through the end of 2020.
DACA recipients represent
The study found nearly 1 million essential workers are so-called “Dreamers” protected under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which President Obama put in place in 2012.
The Trump administration has sought to discontinue the program for the past four years. While DACA has survived those attempts, winning a challenge in the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year, a new lawsuit in Texas still seeks to end the program.
Trump has argued that unemployed Americans should be first in line for any jobs instead of newly-arrived immigrants. However, the study contradicts that claim, finding that 70% of immigrants working essential jobs have been in the U.S. for at least a decade, and 60% speak English.