Caring for Immigrants during the Pandemic

Written on: April 6, 2020

Question: What group of people is nearly, if not totally absent in the news these pandemic times?

Answer: Immigrants.

Question: What group of people has no possibility of maintaining social distancing and are therefore most vulnerable to COVID-19?

Answer: Detainees at the borders and the undocumented.

Question: What can we do about that?

Answer: Keep informed.

  1. Washington, D.C.– Today, Mar. 30, 2020, plaintiffs in one of the cases challenging the Trump Administration’s termination of DACA filed a letter with the Supreme Court asking them to consider the real-world consequences of the COVID-19 global health crisis for more than 700,000 DACA recipients and their families – including their 256,000 U.S. citizen children. The letter argues that if the Court upholds Trump’s termination of DACA and deprives 700,000 people of their deportation protections, their jobs and therefore their healthcare, that it would wreak havoc on an already fragile health care system. The Supreme Court has a responsibility to consider the new circumstances that now includes the closure of USCIS offices, which could delay essential renewals as DACA recipients need to go to these offices in person to have their biometrics taken. This new unknown has caused a ripple effect that compounds anxieties around the real threat of deportations, financial instability, education, access to health care and treatment, and caretaking of their loved ones. These basic human rights are at stake during an unprecedented public health crisis that will jeopardize immigrant youth who are doctors, nurses, grocery store workers, child care providers, cleaners, business owners, and other first responders.
  2. This received Mar. 30, 2020 from LCWR Immigration Coalition: It seems ICE is trying to empty the family detention centers.  There have been 311 individuals released to the Greyhound and airport since and including Mar 21st. (when the daily number of releases jumped up from a few a day to about 30 a day from Dilley, TX. As of March 23rd there were about 800 people in Dilley detention center.  There has also been a steady stream of family releases from Karnes, TX. Since and including Mar 20th there have been 40 families released from Karnes.  Neither facility is accepting new families. This is hopeful, but we must remain watchful.


  1. On behalf of the GNSH, I signed on the letter to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) asking him to rescind the regulation excluding DACArecipients from benefits under the ACA, including tax credits, cost sharing, and the marketplaces. For more information regarding this exclusion click here: Exclusion of Youth Granted “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” from Affordable Health Care. The rescinding of this regulation would lead to over 650,000 DACA recipients obtaining access to the ACA and upwards of 1.4 million if DACA is restored. The goal of this letter is to not only pressure HHS to rescind the regulation, but to also to begin to build a coalition of organizations in support to make this a priority during the first 100 days of the potential next administration.
  2. If you haven’t already, please sign the petition urging the Supreme Court Justices to DELAY issuing a ruling on DACA during the national health emergency.
  3. Join today, Tuesday, March 31st, 2020, 4 PM ET/ 1 PM PT Please RSVP here The call-in details will be sent to those who RSVP.
  4. Write to your Representative insisting that immigrants and others without SS be included in the CARE ACT.
  5. Contact the Philadelphia ICE Office and its director, Simona Flores, encouraging her and her staff to get the word out via T.V., radio, and social media that immigrants who need health care should not hesitate to seek it.  ICE will take no action at or near health care facilities.


These critical times present us with critical needs and people to take critical action. Thanks for being those people.

Sister Diane


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