The news media continue to provide much food for thought, regarding:  evidence of disparities in the ways that the coronavirus pandemic has impacted different segments of the population, debates over the nature of any future federal relief, developments in immigration law and policy, and the looming wave of evictions, as temporary protections expire.  If you are looking for ways to expand your own understanding of any of these issues, here are a few recommendations:  

On health and economic disparities:   This is an issue brief put out by the Kaiser Family Foundation:  “Health and Financial Risks for Noncitizen Immigrants Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.”  This post from the CDC addresses “health equity” in the context of the pandemic:  what “health equity” means, how it relates to racial and ethnic minority groups, and what people and institutions can do to promote it.  It is available in Spanish and English (and other languages).   A summary of survey research showing changes in attitudes of Americans regarding immigration, during the pandemic.  It suggests why some statements or stances on immigrants may have gained broader support, in these circumstances.

On federal coronavirus relief legislation:   This article explains the impact on immigrants of key provisions of federal relief laws passed in response to the pandemic.   A well-argued opinion piece about the various reasons (moral, health, economic) to ensure that immigrants are included in government relief efforts, especially if a new round of federal legislation is passed.   Another argument in favor of adding protections for immigrants, including undocumented people, to next federal coronavirus relief bill.

On immigration laws and policies:  The national-level Office of Government Relations for the Episcopal Church is active in advocating and educating the public about ways to reach more humane immigration policies.  This piece provides an update on recent developments in various areas of immigration law and policy, including:  DACA, asylum, immigrant detention, funding of the USCIS, and the public charge rule.  It also includes links to other resources and suggestions of ways that individuals and organizations can advocate for more just policies and laws.  A review of two recent books, which offer new looks at the fate of foreigners in America, from the privileged to the most vulnerable.  Taken together, Julia Rose Kraut’s Threat of Dissent and Jacob Soboroff’s Separated give a sense of how U.S. immigration laws can be and have been weaponized.”  President Trump hopes to end DACA, which has granted employment authorization to thousands of young immigrants. Already, some large employers are refusing to hire DACA recipients, claiming that uncertainty about their long-term prospects makes this risky to employers.

On eviction from rental properties:  An account of how the march towards evictions is playing out in a section of Houston where a dense supply of rental apartments has become home for many low-income immigrant families, who are also deeply impacted by job loss during the pandemic.  It is not only a lack of money, but also pressure from landlords and fears of what may happen if they go to court, that are leading some undocumented tenants to leave rental units before they need to, and to put up with even more precarious housing arrangements.   This article describes the threat of evictions and foreclosures (if landlords don’t receive payments), in the absence of federal assistance or action.  It provides links to several sources, including: A policy paper about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on people’s inability to pay rent, drawing on the work of multiple authors, research and policy institutes.   This article offers practical tips that tenants and their advocates can take, to avoid eviction. If you have never had to deal with not being able to pay rent or facing eviction, you may be surprised by what you learn from this piece.  This article, by sociologist Matthew Desmond, a nationally recognized expert on the dynamics of eviction and its contributions to poverty, is a must-read.  Desmond tells the story of a family in San Antonio whose life fell apart when they were pressured by their landlord to vacate a rental property — in the midst of a time of precarity due to the pandemic.  Desmond connects this story to patterns of eviction nation-wide and suggests what needs to be done to stop this scourge.