We Are Essential

Immigrants and the Path to a Resilient Economy

Across the United States, Americans are facing the continued harsh realities of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn. Among the people bearing the brunt of these twin crises are 10.4 million undocumented immigrants for whom the United States has long been home. Immigrants have not only been on the front lines as essential workers helping to keep the country running during these difficult times—a role they will continue to play as the fight to control the virus continues—but they will also play a pivotal role in supporting the nation’s rebuilding and economic recovery efforts. According to a new estimate from the Center for American Progress, 5 million undocumented immigrants—nearly 3 in 4 of all undocumented workers—are part of America’s essential workforce, risking their own health and safety as well as that of their loved ones to perform vital work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please join the Center for American Progress for this timely and forward-looking discussion on the important role of immigrants in building a dynamic and resilient economy for all and the urgent need for a path to permanent legal status.

Introductory remarks:
Mara Rudman, Executive Vice President for Policy, Center for American Progress

Keynote remarks:
Secretary Julián Castro, former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Panelists:
Mary Kay Henry, International President, Service Employees International Union
Guerline M. Jozef, President, Haitian Bridge Alliance
Ai-jen Poo, Co-Founder and Executive Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance
Vicente Reyes, Dreamer, Farmworker and Student Member, UFW Foundation

Moderator:
Tom Jawetz, Vice President, Immigration Policy, Center for American Progress