While details about Trump’s plans remain unclear, we do know a lot about the role immigrants have been playing on the frontlines during the pandemic.
Here’s a look at some key statistics about immigrant workers in the United States from that analysis and why these numbers matter right now:
The Migration Policy Institute used 2018 census data to crunch the numbers.
Their estimate: 6,259,000 immigrants are working in jobs on the frontlines of the fight against coronavirus, including health care and social services; grocery stories, pharmacies and gas stations; manufacturing of food, medicine, soap and cleaning agents; agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting; bus, metro and taxi drivers; postal service workers; and scientific research and development.
1 in 4 doctors in the US are immigrants
38% of home health aides are immigrants
22% of workers in the US food industry are immigrants
Immigrants play an “outsized role in food production,” according to MPI, and represent a far larger share of workers in certain occupations.
Nearly a third of agriculture workers nationwide are foreign-born, according to census data. But experts caution official data likely doesn’t provide a complete picture of all the country’s agriculture workers, because many are undocumented and not necessarily included in those tallies.
37% of meat processing industry workers are immigrants
35% of crop production workers are immigrants
483,000 immigrants work in grocery stores
That’s around 16% of the nearly 3 million grocery retail workers, according to MPI.
69% of California’s agricultural workers are immigrants
34% of metro, bus and taxi drivers are immigrants
6 million immigrants work in industries that are laying off large numbers of workers
According to MPI, immigrants are “also over-represented in some of the non-frontline industries that are being devastated as more people follow social distancing guidelines and more states and cities issue shelter-in-place orders.”
These industries include accommodation and food services; nonessential retail; personal services and private households; arts and entertainment; building services; nonessential transportation and travel assistance.
For example, 38% of chefs and head cooks and 52% of maids and housekeepers are immigrants.
Immigrant workers often have less access to relief and government safety nets. And according to MPI’s analysis, compared to US-born peers in the same industries they’re more likely to have lower incomes and larger families — and less likely to have health insurance.