Immigrants May Get Passed Up For COVID Vaccinations
During the height of the pandemic, and even today, undocumented immigrants were on the front lines of many different industries, making sure that the necessities of life were there for us when we needed them. Many worked in high risk environments, or as farm workers, with little or no protective equipment to shield them from the coronavirus.
But today, in Florida, it seems they are being left behind in the race to get vaccinated. That’s because Florida’s requirements to qualify for a vaccine, include proofs of residency that many undocumented immigrants simply don’t have.
Right now, many immigrants would not get vaccinated anyway, because outside of certain industries, essential workers in every industry aren’t yet eligible to get vaccinated. But when they are, many immigrants who would otherwise qualify, may not.
Many immigrants, whether here legally or not, do not have a Florida ID, a requirement for getting vaccinated. Other proofs of residency that can be provided—which many immigrants do not have—include utility bills, bank statements, or rental agreements.
These strenuous new requirements were instituted to stop “vaccine tourism,” the act of people coming to Florida from other states, just to get vaccinated under Florida’s more lenient standards for vaccination (so far). But the governor also has said that he is not in favor of people coming from other countries to Florida to get vaccinated.
Many stories, including one from San Diego, have documented long lines of immigrants seeking vaccinations. San Diego county has said that vaccinating immigrants is good for overall public health, as immigrants are in the US’ general population.
Arguments on Both Sides
There is a push to include all farmworkers in the next wave of permissible vaccinations. The food chain and supply is too vital, according to many, to exclude anyone on the basis of immigration status.
Many immigrants also have a natural distrust of the government, with some feeling that vaccinations are a ploy to lure immigrants to government facilities where they can be taken by immigration and customs officials.
Of course, even if immigrants could get vaccinated, that still wouldn’t mean that they have access to the vaccine itself. Many signup procedures are done online, and many farmworkers or agricultural workers who are immigrants have limited or no access to the internet, at least not on the regular basis that signing up online requires lately.
Policies May Vary
Some outlets are a bit more forgiving. For example, Jackson Health Systems and memorial Healthcare Systems will allow a foreign issued photo ID, so long as it is accompanied by two forms of proof of local residency, such as a lease agreement or utility bill. Larkin Hospitals will allow any government issued ID.
Contact the Palm Beach County immigration attorneys at Devore Law Group today for immigration law help, whether you have a big or relatively minor immigration law problem.