Ricardo Miranda Zúñiga

Structural Patterns

Reflections on Art, Technology and Society

ICE Rushes to Return Detained Migrants as Need for Laborers Soars

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Immigrant labor across the US, many undocumented must be protected

I’m waiting to read the following headlines “ICE Rushes to Return Detained Migrants as Need for Laborers Soars” and “The Federal Government Will Provide Health Care and Sick Leave to Undocumented Work Force.” If we use the San Francisco Department of Public Health order for “SHELTER IN PLACE” declared yesterday, a majority of the “Essential Businesses” are manned my immigrants:

  • Grocery stores, farmers’ markets, supermarkets;
  • Food cultivation, including farming, livestock and fishing;
  • Gas stations, auto-supply and auto-repair;
  • Laundromats, dry cleaners, and laundry services;
  • Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for delivery or carry out;
  • Home-based care for seniors, adults, or children;
  • Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers;
  • Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residences;
  • Taxis, transport workers;
  • Childcare facilities;

Each of these areas and more are now considered Essential Businesses that are fulfilled by Essential Function Workers. As I read through the list, these are jobs that immigrants are commonly the employees; not only immigrants but many undocumented immigrants. Consider your food delivery guys, the childcare nannies, the laundromat and dry cleaning employees, the senior care employees, farm workers (40-50% are undocumented)… Over the last few years, the undocumented immigrant workforce has been at rising risk of losing the lives they have fought to construct in this country as ICE has ramped up raids. Now, as CORONAVIRUS runs its course across the United States, there will be an increasing need for this immigrant labor force.

Unfortunately the country’s social net has deteriorated over the last forty years of rampant neoliberalism and increasing inequality. Suddenly, Trump’s tax cut and slashing of the social welfare will have significant ramifications. I wonder what support these essential laborers will be given if they become sick and can no longer go to work. If we are calling the food delivery workers, farm workers, supermarket employees, laundromat employees, delivery workers (Amazon plans to hire a new thousand), gas station employees, Uber/taxi driver, home caretaker – essential function workers – will the country help them if they become ill? All the laborers that do not have green cards or work permit or social security number – what support will they be given for risking their lives?

Written by ricardo

March 17th, 2020 at 7:34 am

Posted in Uncategorized