Changing the Playbook: Immigrants and the COVID-19 Response in Two U.S. Communities

Randy Capps and Michael Fix
Date of Publication: 
July, 2022
Source Organization: 
Migration Policy Institute

An estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants were barred from key forms of pandemic assistance, while many legally present immigrants had limited or no access to public benefit programs. Changing the Playbook : Immigrants and the COVID-19 Response in Two U.S. Communities examines the COVID-19 recovery and relief efforts in two contrasting U.S. communities: Worthington, Minnesota (a largely agricultural community with one of the highest infection rates in the country), and Harris County, Texas (home to Houston, the nation’s 4th largest city). Using qualitative data based on 60 interviews with public officials, community leaders and service providers, the report compares how immigrant groups, nonprofit organizations and governments in these two communities responded during the first 18 months of the pandemic. The authors highlight the critical role that state and local governments played in relief and recovery efforts, as many immigrants were barred from federal relief packages. Common elements are identified regarding these communities’ responses, as well as useful lessons in regard to the inclusion of immigrants in future recovery efforts nationwide. The report stresses the importance of building on these elements and past experiences, as well as the strengths of local stakeholders, in order to build the resilience of all U.S. communities. (Stephanie DePauw for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

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Capps, R., & Fix, M. (2022). Changing the Playbook: Immigrants and the COVID-19 Response in Two U.S. Communities. Migration Policy Institute.