Immigrant Essential Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Immigrant Essential Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic masthead: Wednesday, December 8, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM EST

What role did immigrants play as part of the essential workforce to get us through the COVID-19 pandemic? Did they feel like the “heroes” that the public labelled essential workers? What effect did the government’s uneven policies have on immigrant workers and their families?

The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute released its new research report Immigrant Essential Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic on Wednesday, December 8, 2:00 to 3:00 PM EST in a free webinar moderated by Ali Noorani, president and CEO of the National Immigration Forum. The report dives deeply into the lived experiences of immigrant essential workers and shows the outsized, precarious, and often thankless role they played in our recovery. It also examines the lack of protection and benefits many immigrant workers faced even while they put their lives in danger.

Speakers illustrated the experiences of immigrant essential workers in agriculture, retail and health care, described policies that aided and hindered immigrants’ work, and discussed local actions that could help immigrant workers and the broader community thrive during the next public health crisis. View the recordings here. Explore the report here.

You will learn:

  • The vital contributions of immigrant essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic 
  • Challenges, both institutional and personal, that these workers faced 
  • Strategies to support foreign-born workers in vital industries in the future 

This webinar is open to the public including not-for-profit workers, legal service providers, teachers, students, researchers, volunteers, librarians, advocates and anyone interested in immigrant essential workers.


Ali Noorani

Ali Noorani, president and CEO, National Immigration Forum


Anuradha Sajjanhar, PhDAnuradha Sajjanhar, postdoctoral fellow and lead researcher on the Immigrant Essential Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic report

Jose-Ramon Fernandez PenaJosé Ramón Fernández-Peña, MD, MPA, director, Health Professions Advising, Northwestern University

Beatriz HernandezBeatriz-Hernandez, Central Valley organizing fellow, California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC)

Denzil MohammedDenzil Mohammed, director, The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute

This is the latest free webinar hosted by The ILC Public Education Institute. View recordings and resources from past webinars on immigrant integration, education and research including our 2021 Immigrant Student Success online workshop.

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