Many essential workers at factories, warehouses and agriculture in Illinois are undocumented immigrants, who do not receive COVID-19 benefits and must continue to work even when they are sick. A new report by NPR says due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a record number of Illinois workers have filed unemployment claims with the office. But an estimated 280,000 undocumented workers in the state are ineligible for those benefits due to their undocumented status:
“analysis of 2018 census microdata shows that as many as 280,000 undocumented immigrants worked in Illinois that year, with the vast majority of them in the Chicago area”
Most of these undocumented workers live in “mixed-status” families, where some members of the family are undocumented and others are either citizens or legal permanent residents, says NPR. Anyone who lives in a “mixed-status” household — where anyone in the family (tax filers and their children) uses an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number — instead of a Social Security number) the family does not qualify for the stimulus relief payment.
Undocumented essential workers in Illinois don’t have access to the same health care, preventive measures and financial resources other workers have, said Chicago immigration attorney Mario Godoy:
“These are hard-working people trying to feed and shelter their families – they don’t have savings to fall back on. Essential service workers in Illinois provide an important role keeping all of us safe – they should be provided with basic health care and protection regardless of their legal status.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued an executive order on April 7 to ensure that Chicago’s illegal immigrants and refugees are able to access the city’s coronavirus relief benefits. However, undocumented immigrants do not qualify for the federal stimulus relief payment.
Undocumented essential workers who feel ill are often afraid to miss work, and mistrust the federal government, so continue to work despite being sick, and don’t have access to health care.
Godoy Law Office is an established immigration law firm in Chicago and Lombard with experienced immigration attorneys who are ready to help you interpret complicated immigration law as they apply to your case. Contact us online or call today at 855-554-6369.