Data Shows Immigrants Overrepresented in Jobs Critical to Fighting COVID-19

The CATO Institute, a public policy research organization, released a report on March 23rd demonstrating immigrants’ disproportionate role in the nation’s most vital positions during the COVID-19 pandemic. While native-born Americans hold the majority of most U.S. occupations, immigrants are overrepresented in almost every job that is critical to fighting the virus. These jobs include positions in healthcare, cure and treatment research, cleaning and disinfecting, supply production, and food production, distribution, and delivery.

Although immigrants comprised only 13.7% of the U.S. population in 2018, they are currently:

  • 54.5% of agricultural graders and sorters
  • 46.7% of maids
  • 42.1% of farmworkers
  • 39.6% of life/medical scientists
  • 38.1% of packaging machine operators
  • 35.8% of food processors
  • 35.2% of home health aides
  • 29.7% of chemists
  • 28.5% of physicians
  • 25.6% of biomedical engineers
  • 25.4% of janitors
  • 19.8% of biological scientists
  • 18.9% of diagnosing practitioners
  • 18.4% of industrial truckers

This is not an exhaustive list of occupations overrepresented by immigrants, and these numbers don’t include the more than 200,000 foreign workers on American farms as H-2A guest workers. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor recently approved the hiring of more than 11,000 foreign employees at eight major U.S. coronavirus research and treatment companies.

Employing Immigrants While Closing Borders

Despite this significant reliance on immigrant populations, the U.S. has implemented several measures to slow or halt immigration and international travel. But a report by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) suggests that restricting immigration and international travel rarely accomplishes the goal of containing a pandemic. According to MPI, the restrictions may delay the virus’s arrival in other countries, but the delay comes at “an enormous social and economic cost—essentially grinding international ties to a halt at a time when cooperation to overcome a common threat (including by sharing medical knowledge and allowing health workers to circulate freely) is more critical than ever.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed this in a recent report, explaining that restriction of people and goods during an emergency such as COVID-19 is ineffective at best and often diverts essential resources. Furthermore, shutting down borders tends to sabotage businesses and cause widescale economic collapse.

The U.S. has severely slowed immigration in recent years, and COVID-19 has led to a complete shutdown of borders. But the pandemic is revealing the degree to which America relies upon immigrants in a wide variety of positions to provide the care, services, products, and scientific contributions we need to survive. Many say immigrants are the backbone of American society, and this is true now more than ever before.

Today, the world is united by a common and invisible enemy, but current U.S. policy does not yet reflect the global cooperation we need.

Let Our Firm Help You Overcome Barriers to Your Immigration Goals

We are facing an unprecedented crisis, but Sintsirmas & Mueller Co. L.P.A. has not abandoned the responsibility to continue fighting for your rights. If you are concerned about the impact of the coronavirus on your immigration process, USCIS policies, or your future employment, let us answer your questions and help you develop a failsafe strategy.

We are proud to serve immigrants from all around the world as they fight for a future in the United States. Let us advance your interests and guide your journey by calling (888) 491-8770 today.