Undocumented Immigrants are Being Denied Covid-19 Vaccinations in Florida
The Florida Immigration Coalition has reported that their immigration hotline is “blowing up” with calls from undocumented immigrants who have been repeatedly, and frustratingly, turned away from COVID-19 vaccination sites and centers.
Barriers to Vaccination for Immigrants
President Biden has unequivocally stated that everyone is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine regardless of their immigration status, even stating that no one should be turned away or experience fear of arrest when attempting to get a vaccine. However, Florida has state-specific conditions for vaccination, which require individuals to show a government issued photo ID, driver’s license, a utility bill with the individual’s name and a Florida address, or a rental agreement. These requirements necessarily exclude undocumented immigrants, many of whom do not have long-term rental agreements or utility bills in their name (both of which generally require a social security number and proof of identity), despite working in and contributing to the state’s economy.
All Talk and No Action
Many undocumented immigrants work on the nation’s frontlines and have been instrumental in keeping our nation’s agricultural economy operational during the pandemic. While thousands of memes circulated calling Florida’s agricultural workers “heroes” for continuing to harvest produce and supplying the nation’s grocery stores during the pandemic, now that a vaccine is available, no effort is being made on a state level to ensure these workers are protected. One worker stated that these actions are speaking louder than words, noting, “They see us as less, yet we work the most.”