The work of Veronica Velasquez as a physiotherapist in a public hospital of Los Angeles (CA) has become more risky as the increasing number of patients with coronavirus. But the risk of loss of its working papers and deportation have not changed. About it writes USA Today.
27-year-old Velasquez is one of the almost 700,000 immigrants without documents who were brought to United States in childhood and rely on the program “deferred action for the arrival of children,” or DACA, which the President of the United States Donald trump wants to stop.
Her position, as well as approximately 27,000 recipients, medical doctors, nurses and other health workers, is very shaky.
“I’m a people who have a suspected COVID-19, and all I ask is that you stay in this country and ensure this aid, says Velasquez. We definitely help them stay alive.”
Journalists talked to DACA recipients working in the field of health care in California, Florida, Texas and upstate new York, where the coronavirus is most rampant. Some face shortage of personal protective equipment, often wearing the same mask for the entire shift at the hospital. Other well-endowed, but nevertheless nervous.
Jesus Contreras was helping to fight the hurricane Harvey in Houston three years ago, a monstrous storm that caused flooding and caused injury to many people. The virus, according to him, represents a much greater threat.
“We have not yet fully revealed its potential, says the 26-year-old Contreras. — My biggest concern is that we must decide which patients will receive treatment and which will wait.”
This is not his only concern. Contreras should he worry about to not get a virus, and to stay in the country he came from Mexico in 1999.
“I’m not so much concerned about, but also cautious, aware of the risk that carries my area of expertise, he says. — But we not only have to worry about this pandemic, we need to worry about our immigration status and deportation.”
“It will be catastrophic”
President Barack Obama sought to ease the policy regarding DACA recipients in 2012, creating this software.
The administration of the trump tend to reduce program. Federal courts from California to new York intervened, leaving the programme until the decision of the Supreme court.
During oral disputes in November the conservative majority of the court, it seems, sided with the administration. If judges simply refuse to cancel the decision of the Department of homeland security, the new President with the same ease will be able to resume the program. If they declare the entire program illegal, and Congress needs to intervene.
In legal documents submitted in October 2019, the Association of American medical colleges cited in a Federal warning about the “risk of a pandemic” as a reason to DACA recipients have contributed to the “working force”.
“Infectious diseases can spread around the globe in a matter of days due to increased urbanization and international travel, said the Association. These conditions pose a threat to the safety of health of citizens of the United States”.
The legal service of the Yale law school has sent a letter to the Supreme court, which stated that the administration’s decision to terminate the DACA should be blocked due to the pandemic.
“Health care providers that are at the forefront of the struggle of our country against COVID-19, rely heavily on the DACA recipients to perform important work,” the statement said.
“Termination of DACA during this emergency situation in the country will be catastrophic,” the letter reads.
It all acquired a political connotation, when the presidential candidate of the Democratic party Joe Biden warned that the decision “will leave a gaping hole in the health system, which could cost American lives”.
“Just my calling”
In Northern California, 27-year-old Ana Cueva is working 12-hour shifts as a nurse in the ICU of a public hospital. Becoming a nurse she was like 9 years old when came to Utah from Mexico.
“Hospitals are not sufficiently prepared for a pandemic of this magnitude. They distribute equipment, in particular masks, says Cueva. — I don’t really agree to be exposed to certain diseases — viruses, pandemics, etc. — because the government was not ready for this.”
In Fort Myers, Florida, 26-year-old paramedic Aldo Martinez, worked 48-hour shifts, helping the patient with COVID-19.
A native of Mexico who arrived in the U.S. at the age of 12 years, Martinez has seen what happens when colleagues are forced to fit into quarantine, which leads to the lack of staff.
“It’s crazy. We learn on the go,” he says. According to him, if the DACA recipients will lose the ability to work, it “will create even more chaos in an already chaotic situation.”
In Northern new Jersey, about an hour drive from new York, the paramedic who came from South Korea at age 11, is scared to infect my wife and parents. His hospital, like many, facing a shortage of means of protection.
“It is very difficult, — says the 32-year-old Daniel, who did not want to disclose his name because of his immigration status. — All become very hectic”.
For Velasquez, a native of the Philippines who came to the U.S. when she was 11 years old, the coronavirus was a sharp awakening. Its hospital set up three tents to prepare for the expected influx of patients.
“Many of the patients become weak, and they can’t even get out of bed because of bad breath, which causes the weakness of their muscles, she says. — Here also need physical therapy”.
“It’s just my calling. I worked very hard to become a physiotherapist, she says. — I knew that’s what I want to do, as during a pandemic, so without.”
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