Singapore—Once held up as the ‘gold standard’ for addressing the coronavirus pandemic, Singapore became the world’s cautionary tale due to an outbreak among its 300,000 strong migrant worker communities, which caused the country to have the highest number of coronavirus infections in Asia, second only to China.
The Government of Singapore has been hard at work mitigating issues since the beginning of this month, when the number of infections among migrant workers began to grow, but countries with immigrant or other marginalized communities need to pay attention to a problem that could very quickly get out of hand.
Ana María Enciso Noguera, writing for Al Dia, wrote that the United States would do well to learn from Singapore’s example. Like Singapore, the US has vulnerable migrant communities. It is highly likely that in Singapore, as in the US, some workers did not seek help when they showed signs of illness, as this could lead to the loss of their jobs, possibly even deportation. And in both countries, there is a gap in the kind of healthcare vulnerable communities have access to versus the rest of the population.
In the United States, the number of African-Americans and Latinos communities showing Covid-19 infections has been disproportionately high. While taken together, these communities only make up 13 percent of the population, when it comes to Covid-19, one-third of all infections are found among people from African-Americans and Latinos communities.
Furthermore, the sectors where migrant workers are employed in Singapore are also similar to the sectors where Latinos work in the US —“construction, part of the medical service, deliveries and the food production chain,” Ms Noguera writes, which are key sectors of the economy.
Therefore failure to help these communities will ultimately be a failure to safeguard the economic soundness of the country where they live.
Meanwhile, President Trump tweeted on April 21 that he would be signing an “Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States.”
In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2020
As things stand, the current anti-immigrant atmosphere in the US may have grave ramifications later on. A new rule was implemented saying that an immigrant who used public benefits such as Medicaid could be denied a green card. And although permanent residents who are in the process of renewing their green cards are exempt from this, enough confusion about the ruling has already caused people to be wary about getting medical care when they need it.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services received flak from members of the democratic party, after which it announced that people applying for a green card would not be penalized for getting a Covid-19 test. And even if the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said last month that it would not perform operations near health care facilities, immigrants rights advocates are concerned that there are those who may be experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 but are too afraid to be tested.—/TISG
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