On the other side of the phone is a trickle of voice, as weak as a guitar with rusty strings. For a few days, Maria has not been well. She’s tired. He is short of breath. He doesn’t even recognize his own voice. “I think this time it’s going to be my turn,” she says resignedly. The coronavirus It has passed through its small world like a tornado. Of the nine people he shares an apartment with on the outskirts of Washington, five have been infected. Only the four children have dodged it. The four children and this 36-year-old Mexican, who is now waiting for the doctor’s call to confirm her diagnosis. “I’m going through very afraid Because I am the only healthy person at home. I have two children, I have to take care of my partner and I have lost my job. “
Maria is not her real name. He really keeps it in the drawer because he has no papers. It is part of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in America, an army of shadow workers which has been completely excluded from government aid to face the crisis unleashed by the virus. Congress has denied them the unemployment benefit, financing for your companies or direct cash income, ignoring that they pay taxes like any worker. The regulations that prevent them from availing themselves of the public health programs.
But the thing does not end there because the American children of simpapeles of the $ 500 checks sent to each minor, which has led seven families to sue the federal government for “discrimination.” Among them, that of Maria. “Is really cruel and discriminatory that the Government has deliberately left them out of aid. In this country there should be second-class citizens“says Pablo Blank from HOUSE, an immigration support organization that participates in the lawsuit. According to his estimates, four million children they are in the same situation.
Concentration of cases
The result of so much vulnerability is predictable: the coronavirus is doing havoc in immigrant communities like Langley Park, where Maria lives, the neighborhood with higher concentration of cases of the state of Maryland. “Infectious diseases are the best example of how we are interconnected as a society. The covid-19 does not discriminate. If you don’t protect your neighbor, the virus will continue to advance, “says Dr. Michelle LaRue, CASA’s Public Health Advisor.
Langley Park is a small hispanic manhattan no Louis Vuitton skyscrapers or shops. A crowded tangle of two and three story apartment blocks that many families sublet to pay their rent. In front of the supermarkets, gangs of men wait on the sidewalks for someone to hire them for a few hours. They carry school bags on their shoulders, as if they had never left the Rio Grande border. 70% of the inhabitants of this suburb are undocumented. “Everything has stopped, there is no work, I don’t know how we are going to pay the rent,” says José Lucas, a 36-year-old Salvadoran bricklayer. “If there is no money, people are going to have to look for life and this is going to get violent“The day before there were two shootings in the vicinity. Today the patrol cars are swarming there.
The work of the NGOs
Maria has also lost her job in a restaurant. He has spent almost two months at two candles, taking care of his legion of patients in a house where people circulate with masks and everyone obsessively wash their hands. “At first everyone thought they had the flu, we were not well informed, “he says, referring to his brother-in-law, his daughter-in-law, his partner and her uncles. One after the other they were falling, without health insurance and with no access to healthcare other than oenegés primary care clinics, the only rescue float for the poorest in the homeland of capitalist abundance.
Even those who cannot afford private insurance – least of all because most undocumented people live daily – are not necessarily going to hospitals because they have afraid of being arrested, although the Trump Administration has stopped the raids, in the only gesture towards immigrants.
With her partner isolated in the room they both shared, Maria has been sleeping on the sofa for days with the two children of both. “I go to look for food at schools and community centers. I don’t mind standing in line for two or three hours, hot or cold, because it is a great help, “he confesses. The question now is how will he succeed if his diagnosis of covid-19. You don’t have time to respond. She’s tired. Very tired And the call is cut off.