Contributed by Louise Pocock, Immigration Policy Attorney, SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center
The health and economic impacts of COVID-19 are being felt particularly hard in South Carolina’s immigrant community. Immigrants disproportionately work in essential businesses and face other barriers, such as not speaking English, which can make it harder to follow-up public health guidance to keep your family safe. Many immigrants are excluded from federal relief programs, such as the stimulus payment, making it even more difficult to meet their family’s basic needs if they get sick or lose work because of COVID-19.
To address the specific issues and questions that immigrant families face, SC Appleseed has been working closely with community organizations across South Carolina to make sure that immigrant families receive important information about how to stay safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. SC Appleseed created, and continues to update, a website where immigrant families can learn about programs and resources available to help meet economic, health, food, housing, and personal safety needs during the pandemic. In addition to providing practical information to the community, SC Appleseed continues to pressure South Carolina state agencies and state and federal lawmakers to make sure that families can access important information and programs, even if they don’t speak English, and that government programs meant to help families during COVID-19 include everyone, regardless of immigration status.
For information about South Carolina resources to help families during the COVID-19 pandemic in English, visit www.scjustice.org/COVID-19 and for information in Spanish, visit www.scjustice.org/screcursos.
Louise Pocock is the Immigration Policy Attorney at South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center, a non-profit organization fighting for the economic, social, and legal justice of low-income South Carolinians for 40 years. Louise works to improve laws and policies impacting the lives of all immigrants in South Carolina through research, education, and systemic advocacy. Prior to working with SC Appleseed, she represented low-income immigrant clients in public benefits cases at Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and did outreach and community education on public charge and other barriers to immigrant families accessing benefits and services they need.