Immigrants Leaving California for Mexico Due to Pandemic, Trump People are shown at the San Ysidro border crossing in Tijuana, Baja California State, Mexico on May 31, 2019. (Guillermo Arias/ Getty Images)
By Solange Reyner | Thursday, 31 December 2020 01:19 PM
A growing number of Mexicans are leaving California as jobs vanish amid the coronavirus pandemic and Trump-era immigration policies take effect, reports The Guardian.
The pandemic has severely impacted the lives of immigrants, who often work low-paying jobs and don’t have job security. Many have little savings and might not be eligible for assistance doled out to Americans, even if they have documentation.
Immigrants have also disproportionately contracted COVID-19, but some are scared to seek out help due to fear of deportation or the Trump administration’s “public charge” rule, which allowed the government to deny residency to immigrants who rely on public benefits. A federal judge recently blocked the rule from being implemented.
“I told them, you should think about your health first. You’ll have no use for a green card if you’re not alive,” Luz Gallegos, the executive director of the immigrant advocacy group Training Occupational Development Educating Communities Legal Center, told The Guardian.
California’s immigrant population fell by about 642,000, or 6.2%, during the first five months of the pandemic, according to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by UC Merced’s Community and Labor Center.
“Even without the pandemic, there was already a trend where there were a lot of migrants leaving California for other states,” Edward Flores, a UC Merced sociology professor who conducted the analysis, recently told the Los Angeles Times.
“This is the greatest economic disaster since the Great Depression. As a state, California is going to be better positioned if its workforce is growing as opposed to shrinking.”