Immigrant population Northern Virginia graphic

Immigrants make up over a quarter of the population in Northern Virginia, according to the report presented this week. 

COVID-19 has disproportionately affected immigrants in Northern Virginia who are the most vulnerable to the economic stresses caused by the pandemic, according to a new report.

The Immigrants in Northern Virginia Report was released Wednesday before a virtual webinar hosted by panelists representing the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia and New American Economy, a research and advocacy organization.

The report’s authors painted a grim picture of how immigrants are especially vulnerable to gaps in the country’s social safety net, facing issues such as language barriers, less access to health insurance, and increased infection risks associated with frontline and essential work.

According to the report, as of 2018, immigrants made up 27.4% of the population and 47.9% of all essential workers in Northern Virginia. 

Mo Kantner, director of state and local initiatives for New American Economy, said the role of immigrants in essential industries, such as healthcare, food manufacturing, and construction, among others, is vital to the emergency response in Northern Virginia and eventually its economic recovery.

“Immigrants account for almost 57% of workers in essential services, which include certain categories, like veterinarian services, services, and buildings and dwellings, waste management services, child day care services, and on an incredibly morbid front, funeral homes and cemetery workers,” Kantner said. “But overall, we can see the incredibly important role that immigrants are playing during these unprecedented times.”

Jill Kaneff, the senior regional demographer for the regional commission, said the Hispanic community in Northern Virginia is especially vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic because a larger percentage are frontline workers.

“The Hispanic share of cases has been three times their overall population,” she added. “So that is a very huge disparity.”

Kaneff and Kantner underscored the importance of immigrants to the local economy, where they continue to play an essential role in filling workforce gaps, as well as being significant consumers.

“If we look at the top essential industries for foreign-born workers across Northern Virginia, we see immigrants playing an outsized role in a wide variety of industries from over 50% of food service workers to over 40% of healthcare workers and over 28% of utility workers, which, considering most of us are attending this webinar from the comfort of our own homes, is incredibly important,”  Kantner said.

But Kaneff and Kantner warned that because immigrants, such as Hispanics, play an outsized role in the local economy as essential workers, it is necessary to provide these communities with more resources to combat the coronavirus. According to the report, immigrants have faced greater difficulty combating the virus in their communities because of things like language barriers and less access to health insurance.

“This disease does not care if you were born here, if you were a refugee, if you're a naturalized citizen,” Kantner said. “And it certainly doesn’t care if you speak English. So getting health and public safety information, as well as economic resources and support information to everyone in the community, is really critical.”

Likewise, according to the report, despite making up 27.6% of Northern Virginia's population, immigrants made up almost 65% of all uninsured residents in the region.

“Not all areas provide free care, and even when care is offered for those suffering from COVID symptoms, it can be very difficult and confusing to navigate the system,” Kantner said.

The panelists concluded that part of the solution going forward will be providing more resources to immigrant communities to keep the local economy afloat and decreasing the spread of infection.  

 

(8) comments

Citizen52

This makes sense to me. The four immigrant families on my street have multiple generations living together and the Latino family has extended family living under one roof. Each of these families prefer this lifestyle. Staying healthy during non-Covid times is not a problem for them.

fake_journalist

Well since the entire of Northern Virginia has become a sanctuary for illegal immigrants we can expect all types of infectious diseases to be spread around for everyone to share.

Iwouldntgiveabean

Maybe you are on to something:

"Kaneff and Kantner underscored the importance of immigrants to the local economy, where they continue to play an essential role in filling workforce gaps, as well as being significant consumers.

“If we look at the top essential industries for foreign-born workers across Northern Virginia, we see immigrants playing an outsized role in a wide variety of industries from over 50% of food service workers to over 40% of healthcare workers and over 28% of utility workers, which, considering most of us are attending this webinar from the comfort of our own homes, is incredibly important,” Kantner said."

Let's kick them out of Northern Virginia. Then mandate that only white citizens (because we cant trust those Antifa BLM guys amirite?) get out of their safe space and get their hands dirty for low wages!

yourenotthebossofme

Amazing. I agree with 3ID's first two paragraphs, . . . and don't forget the building trades. We've had over $130,000 of construction and remodeling work done on three properties over the past 18 months, all by legal first or second generation Asian-American or Hispanic-American immigrants. The craftsmanship of each and every job was outstanding.

However, s/he is way off on paragraph three. These recently arrived All-American workers have nothing to do with the fascio-marxist scum involved with Antifa and BLM.

covid2021

One has to wonder if these immigrants would be better off going back to where they came from...there would be no language barrier, they could have access to good health insurance and healthcare. It's probably safer there too. The US has the highest number of infections, so they would be at less risk in their home country.

PWCinBigFutureTouble

48% of all immigrants are essential workers? Give me a break. No education. Only know how to do the basics of any work, landscaping, lawn mowing, and it has lead to massive corruption to most all of the legitimate businesses as theses businesses that have been around 40-60 years charge a fortune for labor and then go to 7-11 and pay $12 an hour, all cash.

Stoptheinsanity

Illegal immigration is modern day slavery. Companies need to be held accountable for breaking the law. The immigrants become the victims.

Hawkeye10

Obviously, you never want there to be a Sanctuary for any criminal activity. Ever.

There are some great "illegal" immigrants in our country that had no choice other than their livelihood and their families livelihood to emigrate across the southern border. Good for them.

But if the United States Government cared about its own, the system would have made it possible for provide these people with a legitimate route to citizenship and/or legitimate work visa program. And these individuals would be better vetted. Department of Homeland Security should have overthrown the entire immigration system at its inception. But again, when politics is involved, its usually a lose-lose. Now a "re-immersion" of the laws that were already on the books is under-way.

In other words, unless if our Immigration system was non-political, we wouldnt have major illegal immigration issues.

I dont hold hard-working family-oriented non-criminal immigrants accountable for the systems failures, for the last 50 years. They didnt divide us, bureaucracy and politicians did.

But as usual with government, once its too late, its usually too late. Then more problems arise, and then those previous problems end up on the back-burner, all at the expense of the tax-payer.

Like the national debt as one example...

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