The coronavirus pandemic in the United States has dramatically altered the economy and how many American companies conduct business. Many Americans have grown more aware of the importance of “essential workers” and what this term means. It might surprise many people to learn that immigrants form a high percentage of the essential workers who have worked tirelessly to keep the US economy going during this unprecedented health crisis. Unfortunately, many of these essential workers continue to contend with immigration-related legal issues that interfere with their job duties.
What Are Essential Workers?
As the name suggests, an essential worker is someone whose job duties provide an essential service. High numbers of undocumented immigrants working in some of the most critical essential sectors during the coronavirus pandemic are:
- –Agricultural employees. Many undocumented immigrants work on farms and agricultural centers throughout the United States in many roles. The pressure created on the US economy’s agricultural sector due to the pandemic is unprecedented.
- –Child care providers. The childcare sector has become even more critical as parents across the country have been forced to work from home, take second jobs, and dramatically alter their day-to-day schedules.
- –Energy sector employees. Undocumented immigrants work in many different positions throughout the US energy sectors, including the oil and gas industries, electrical grid maintenance, and many others.
- –Water and wastewater handlers. Essential workers responsible for maintaining clean and consistent water supplies to US communities have thrived thanks to the contributions of many undocumented immigrant employees.
- –Critical retail, including grocery store employees, automotive mechanics, and hardware store employees. Undocumented immigrants play crucial roles in the supply chain that Americans rely upon for their food.
- –Transportation sector employees. Despite current travel restrictions, the transportation sector remains vital to the US economy.
- –Medical doctors, nurses, and other health care employees. Undocumented immigrants and immigrants under work visas have crucial roles in the US health care industry, which is facing unprecedented strain amid the pandemic.
Anyone deemed an essential worker has faced an extraordinary challenge. According to data from the United States Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, many essential workers have kept up their job duties throughout the pandemic.
According to available data, about 69% of undocumented immigrants are employed in jobs deemed essential under the current public health restrictions in place due to the pandemic. It’s estimated that undocumented immigrants form roughly 20% of the workforce of essential workers in the US. About 11% of undocumented immigrants work in the agriculture industry, about 6% work in the food production sector, and 2% work in the health care industry.
Undocumented immigrants have been a major supporting factor of the overall US economy for years. The current conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic have cast a new light on the value of essential workers and the health risks they face as they complete their job duties during a dangerous pandemic.
Problems Facing Undocumented Essential Workers
Unfortunately for many undocumented immigrants working in essential sectors, their status as essential workers does not protect them from facing legal problems with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other immigration-related agencies operating in the US. It is possible for undocumented immigrants working in essential jobs to face legal complications from visa violations and other matters. It’s vital for individuals facing these situations to understand the value of legal representation from an experienced immigration attorney.
What Can an Immigration Attorney Do for Me?
At the Law Offices of Robert Tsigler, PLLC, we believe in fighting for the rights of undocumented immigrants, especially those who have risked their health and safety to perform critical job functions throughout the United States. Your immigration lawyer can help you navigate any phase of the immigration process in the US. They can also help you address unexpected issues as they arise, such as delays in processing your visa application, unwarranted denial of a visa, or other legal matters related to your application for naturalization.
Essential workers have faced an unprecedented situation with incredible courage and perseverance since the coronavirus first reached American shores in January 2020. Many essential workers are undocumented immigrants, and those facing legal complications need reliable legal counsel more than ever. At the Law Offices of Robert Tsigler, PLLC, we believe in fighting for the rights of an undocumented immigrant who requires legal representation, especially essential workers who continue working in dangerous conditions to benefit their communities.
If you or a loved one is an undocumented immigrant working in an essential sector during the pandemic, our team can provide the compassionate and responsive legal representation you need to navigate the situation with confidence. Contact our team today to schedule a consultation with an experienced and reliable immigration attorney in New York.