TFC News

NJ Fil-Ams among immigrants disproportionately affected by pandemic

Don Tagala | TFC News New Jersey

Posted at Oct 06 2021 12:14 PM

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The Center for Cooperative Media reports that the Covid-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted immigrant communities in New Jersey. They include members of the Filipino community especially those who have been working on the frontlines.

"We found a disproportionate number of immigrants were falling victims to the disease then we found the disproportionate number of immigrants were actually feeling the economic hardship that came as a result of COVID," Muzaffar Chishti of the Migration Policy Institute at New York University School of Law said.

CCM also reports that since 2020, more than 7 million people have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. People of color, particularly the 10.4 million undocumented immigrants who contributed more than a billion in tax dollars, had little or no access to healthcare or insurance, were not eligible to most government relief payments, and are still not able to access essential services such as vaccines, treatment, and Covid- 19 testings.

Nedia Morsy of Make the Road New Jersey suspects "funds that were available have been totally wiped. People quickly ran after those gift cards. You're finding pandemic assistance from community organizations that applied for a grant that can now provide direct services, but otherwise, there's nothing stateside that you can receive or at the federal level."

Morsy added that while their group is fighting to help immigrants impacted by the pandemic by urging state and federal government officials to provide aid, others are forced to look at other sources of assistance.

Filipino nurses in New Jersey assert they have seen the inequity in testing, care, and vaccination of their patients. Belle Villafuerte of the Philippine Nurses Association of New Jersey shared they have been reaching out to Filipinos. "We actually volunteered to give COVID vaccine and even COVID testing in our area," Villafuerte noted.

Villafuerte, a Covid survivor herself, said the PNA-NJ Foundation is raising more than 200,000 dollars not only to provide scholarships to deserving future nurses, but especially to those who are not able to go back to work even after recovering from the deadly virus.

PNA-NJ President Jackie Baras said their CARES program provides assistance to frontline Covid survivors who are experiencing the long-term effects of the disease.

"CARES stands for Community Assistance in Response to Emergency Situations, focusing on the financial hardships of our members who may experience, due to COVID-19, loss of job [or] maybe loss of loved ones due to medical bills," Baras noted.