71% of Asian Americans Fighting COVID-19 on the Front Lines Are Immigrants

The majority of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) working in essential industries amid the COVID-19 crisis are immigrants, according to a report published last month.

Right off the bat, 1.4 million AAPIs make up 8.5% of all front line workers in health care, and almost a million of them were born outside the United States.

 

The report, published in time for AAPI Heritage Month, came from the New American Economy, a bipartisan research organization advocating for immigration policies geared toward economic growth.

Researchers looked into the work of the AAPI population in health care, food, biomedical, and education sectors, which all play essential roles as the country wrestles with COVID-19.

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According to the report, AAPIs are overrepresented in health care, since they made up just 6.8% of the total U.S. population in 2018 — though a rapid growth has been noted over the last decade.

The same can be said of AAPI immigrants, who make up 5.9% of all AAPIs in health care but composed only 3.8% of the total population.

AAPIs are much more important in the health care systems of certain states.

In Hawaii, 44,820 of health care workers are AAPIs — a whopping 71.6% of the whole sector. California came next with 444,155 AAPI health care workers, representing 26.3% of the workforce.

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At the same time, immigrants make up more than 10% of the health care workforce in Hawaii, California, Nevada and New Jersey.

Around 1.2 million AAPI workers are also in food-related industries across the U.S., helping the country secure supplies in farms, processing factories, grocery stores and restaurants. Of this number, almost 835,000 are immigrants.

The education sector, which develops systems for distance learning, has nearly 942,000 AAPI childcare workers and teachers. Of this number, 585,000 are immigrants.

Meanwhile, 267,599 AAPIs are present in the biomedical industry, which develops medicines and produces personal protective equipment to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. Of this number, 191,693 are immigrants.

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The AAPI community plays a vital part in America’s fight against COVID-19, however, the group has also been targeted in hate crimes that mostly blame them for the pandemic.

“Asian American and Pacific Islanders make up one in 12 workers in the healthcare industry. Two in three of those workers are immigrants. They are saving lives every day,” Mike Bloomberg commented on the New American Economy report. “We won’t defeat this virus by scapegoating communities — we’ll do it by coming together.”

Feature Image (representation only) via Needpix

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