In recent months, some of the impacts of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on sexual and reproductive health (SRH) care needs, decisions and access across the globe have become evident. In the United States, the Trump administration has unjustly blamed migrants for the COVID-19 pandemic, exploiting this public health crisis to further its long-standing xenophobic agenda and prompting a de facto shutdown of the U.S. immigration system. Yet immigrant communities—particularly those of color—are among the hardest hit by this virus, largely as a result of intersecting inequities based on migration status, race and socioeconomic position, all of which contribute to unequal access to quality health care. The perilous health impact of COVID-19 on immigrants in the country has been highlighted by the fact that Latinx individuals, one-third of whom are immigrants, are becoming infected and hospitalized at substantially higher rates than are U.S.-born white individuals.
Sheila Desai is senior research scientist, Guttmacher Institute, New York. Goleen Samari is assistant professor, Department of Population and Family Health, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York.