Immigrants are being excluded from receiving basic information about the Covid 19

Immigrants are being excluded from receiving basic information about the Covid 19

Información inmigrantes Covi19 | Joseba Achotegui

The great crisis that the Covid 19 pandemic is generating is bringing to light problematic realities in our society, and one of them is the deficit in the integration policies of immigrants.

Because, what kind of information are these citizens receiving in moments like those of the pandemic, of great uncertainty and fear? How are they being protected?

Admitting, with enough nuances, that the pandemic took us by surprise (in fact it was somewhat predictable) now that we have become psyched, it is urgent to make a plan to transmit quality information about the health situation to all members of society. Programs are urgent in the different languages ​​of immigrants, at least in the most widely used, explaining the protection measures.

As an example of these information deficits with immigrants, I will explain the case of a Syrian refugee woman that we attend to, now by phone, at the SAPPIR (Psychopathological and Psychosocial Care Service for Immigrants and Refugees) in Barcelona. When a few weeks ago, after the end of the confinement, in the course of a session, I asked him that it was good for him to go out into the street, outdoors, not to stay at home, he replied:

-Look, doctor, I’d like more, but we can’t go out, the police will fine us if we go out.

-But how, I replied, if the state of alarm is over and people travel between provinces and even foreign tourists arrive on planes. What do you mean you can’t leave home for a walk?

-The patient was silent for a moment and then began to warn the whole family with loud voices saying that they could now leave the house, that they did not have to remain locked up…

I think the anecdote reflects very well the reality of many immigrants who have lived uninformed, disconnected from the host society, a dangerous and distressing situation like the pandemic. What’s more, since the information has not been sent to them from the institutions, they have been at the mercy of all kinds of hoaxes, fake news… which have only increased their uncertainty and fear.

It must be borne in mind that immigrants contribute much more to society than they receive, performing vital functions for the community, performing essential jobs, often dangerous, playing the game for everyone, as has been clearly seen in this pandemic situation. But it is also that, just with the implementation of a structured regularisation program for the undocumented, it is calculated that the State would collect nearly 2,000 million euros with their contributions. Only with that, we could already finance a program of high-quality trackers, something that is now making water. And so it goes.