The COVID 19 pandemic has spread to practically all the countries of the world, and there are already close to 2,800,000 infected and nearly 200,000 dead [1]. Currently the United States (EU) is the country with the highest number of infections (almost 900,000), with 50,000 deaths and is immersed in an unprecedented health crisis [2]. In addition, in the context of the increase of the unemployment (almost 26 million persons) due to the pandemic, in this country a very marked economic recession is soon on the horizon.

Although in the contagion processes there is no distinction of social class, ethnicity or socio-economic stratum, those who will be most affected are the populations with the most precarious living conditions and who have little or no access to health services. This health emergency is not limited only to the spread of the virus, but is increased and magnified by the deterioration, thinning, privatization and insufficiency of health services in many countries (especially the United States), the consequence of decades of neoliberal policies in the health sector.

Furthermore, the effects are not limited to the hundreds of thousands of patients and the tens of thousands of deaths registered worldwide to date. There are also the impasse of production processes and the deep economic crises resulting from the cessation of commercial and labor activities, which will generate dynamics of impoverishment, loss of employment and contraction of economic activity (at a national, regional and global scale).

Among the population groups that have been strongly impacted, forced international migrants and refugees will be one of the most affected internationally. In various refugee camps in Europe (Germany, France, Greece) and the Middle East, humanitarian crises associated with COVID 19 are imminent [3]. This is the result of the current precarious living conditions of the refugees in these places (overcrowding, insufficient food and water, and lack of medical services), and almost no access to material resources and infrastructure to deal with the pandemic.

Migrants in the US and the COVID contingency 19

Currently in the US there are millions of undocumented migrant workers and nearly fifty thousand irregular migrants in various detention centers. Even before the COVID 19 contingency, these centers were de facto prisons, where open, widespread and very serious violations of the human rights of migrants took place. These violations ranged from the absence of legal advice processes, clear overcrowding conditions and lack of medical care, to the separation of thousands of families, the retention and confinement of thousands of minors, and even the deaths of several migrants from 2019 to date [4].

In the context of this ominous history of detention centers (as places of irrefutable violence against migrants), these centers, given their conditions of marked overcrowding and insufficient access to health services, are at risk of becoming sources of infection and contagion for thousands of migrants. As it is known and documented, most of these centers do not have the necessary conditions for isolation and medical treatment to contain the epidemic of COVID 19 [5]. Now, migrants are not only exposed to the dynamics of exclusion and violence that they usually suffered and suffer in those places, but they will also be vulnerable to massive contagion processes and will not have basic health care [6]. There have already been cases of contagion of migrants in various detention centers.

For this reason, for weeks, various civil society groups, some politicians and various pro-migrant organizations have demanded the release of those migrants without a serious criminal record (which are the vast majority) and who are being held in various detention centers in the United States. [7].

On the other hand, millions of irregular migrant workers, who were working in the US, were left without work in the COVID 19 contingency and will not be included in the economic rescue plan recently announced by the US government [8]. With this, uncertainty and anxiety are looming and will fall on millions of people (and their families), who, through low-paid and non-benefits jobs, all that they wanted was to improve their living conditions and meet their needs.

Notes

[1] https://www.google.com/search?q=covid+19+cifras+en+el+mundo&oq=COVID+19+cifras&aqs=chrome.2.69i57j0l4.5400j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

[2] https://www.jornada.com.mx/2020/04/05/politica/003n1pol

[3] https://www.france24.com/es/20200405-grecia-cuarentena-segundo-campo-refugiados-covid19

[4] https://www.alainet.org/es/articulo/203907

[5] https://www.jornada.com.mx/sin-fronteras/2020/04/05/bomba-de-tiempo-centros-de-detencion-en-eu-por-covid-19-advierten-expertos-8495.html

[6] https://www.jornada.com.mx/sin-fronteras/2020/04/05/bomba-de-tiempo-centros-de-detencion-en-eu-por-covid-19-advierten-expertos-8495.html

[7] https://www.democracynow.org/2020/4/1/headlines/congressional_hispanic_caucus_demands_release_of_all_jailed_immigrants_amid_pandemic

[8] https://www.democracynow.org/2020/3/30/headlines/millions_of_undocumented_workers_left_out_of_coronavirus_stimulus_plan_dozens_of_immigrants_on_hunger_strike_at_northwest_detention_center https://www.alainet.org/en/articulo/206161