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COVID response takes “devastating toll” on immigrant health care professionals

Kimberly Adams Dec 25, 2020
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Win McNamee/Getty Images

COVID response takes “devastating toll” on immigrant health care professionals

Kimberly Adams Dec 25, 2020
Win McNamee/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Next week, the Trump administration’s ban on most immigrant workers is set to expire. That policy — which went into effect early in the pandemic in order to protect jobs, according to the administration — exempted health care workers.

With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rising, health care providers are scrambling for additional staff. Several states have sped up the certification process for health care workers trained abroad.

The Migration Policy Institute estimates there are more than 260,000 immigrant professionals, and immigrants already working in healthcare are in some of the highest-risk jobs.

“We see this most powerfully in the disproportionate and devastating toll it has taken on specific groups of immigrants, such as Filipino immigrant nurses,” said Catherine Ceniza Choy, an ethnic studies professor at UC Berkeley.

According to the National Nurses Association, more than one third of nurses who’ve died of COVID-19 and related complications are Filipino, even though they account for just 4% of RNs in the U.S.

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