Coronavirus & Immigrant Rights: Resources and Advocacy


Covid-19, the Coronavirus, is wreaking havoc across the globe -- an international health pandemic on a significant scale. With no vaccine or treatment available for the foreseeable future, it will continue to have a widespread impact on public health, economies on multiple levels, and social and economic well-being for some time to come. 

Consequences for people in migration -- whether migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and the internally displaced -- are a particular concern. Borders are closing; families are surviving in migrant shelters and refugee camps; undocumented fear arrest and deportation in seeking testing or medical care; people in detention lack access to sanitation precautions and "social distancing". Xenophobes continue to rant about the "Chinese" or "foreign" virus as immigrants, and Asians in particular, are being targeted for racist verbal and physical assaults.

NNIRR is providing here a round-up of community informational and educational resources, as well as advocacy initiatives and actions to ensure that all immigrant community members have safe health care access. We will continue to update advocacy options.


Safety and health access are human rights and governments must take responsibility for protecting ALL in this moment of crisis.

NNIRR has responded to this crisis by bringing together dozens of civil society partners on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border to press mayors and governors to provide safeguards for migrants and asylum seekers who are especially at risk of a major outbreak of COVID-19. We have co-authored a binational letter with over 100 sign-ons demanding local border governments safely decongest encampments, release families from immigration detention and remove border patrol checkpoints on roads leading to hospitals.


Organizations can read the letter and partner with us by signing-on

Puede revisar la carta aquí y agregar el apoyo de su organización llenando este formulario. 

The deadline is open and the list is growing for this important call for human rights protections.


Go here for listings of relief funds to help support immigrant communities and workers during the health and economic crisis.




  • From Church World Service:

Arabic     Burmese     French     Farsi (Dari)      Spanish   

Swahili     Somali     Kinyarwanda     Nepalese      Rohingya 


Center for Disease Control and Prevention Information on the coronavirus, including symptoms, precautions, treatment and more. Available in several languages.

TOOLKIT FOR HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS: Preserve Access to Care and Protect Your Patients from Border Patrol and ICE Interference - a project of the ACLU, National Immigration Law Center and Physicians for Human Rights 



How to make a simple homemade face mask from a t-shirt in less than 5 minutes | Como construir una mascara de cara en casa con una camiseta en menos de 5 minutos: YOU TUBE VIDEO

* Requires no sewing, no tape or elastic or rubber bands. 

* Each shirt can make up to 4 double-layered masks and can be done in two sizes (adult or child).

* This mask is washable/reusable and kind to the environment.  

* This mask has been approved by the" target="_blank">Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America and is being shared as a resource on their website




Sign on: Joint Petition calling on ICE to end ALL immigration enforcement activities

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, ICE must cease ALL immigration enforcement activities, particularly near medical facilities, and implement community-based detention alternatives to alleviate mass overcrowding in detention facilities. To avoid preventable deaths and mitigate the harm from a COVID-19 outbreak, individuals and families, particularly those most vulnerable--the elderly, pregnant people, people with serious mental illness, and those at higher risk of complications— should be released while their legal cases are being processed.

Assure immigrants access to medical attention without fear of arrest and protect those most vulnerable to serious illness. Sign the petition. Everyone deserves access to medical care, especially during an outbreak:

State Action Toolkit for a Refugee and Immigrant Inclusive Response to COVID-19 - from the Immigration and Refugee Program of Church World Service.

Release Immigrants in Detention - Detention Watch Network (DWN) "Amid an ongoing global pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can and should immediately release all people from custody. Public health experts agree that the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to promote good hygiene with proper and frequent hand washing, and to practice social distancing. People locked up in immigration detention are extremely vulnerable to the spread of infectious disease due to restrictions on their freedom of movement, deteriorating health while in detention, physical proximity to others who may be infected, and ICE’s track record of inadequate medical care and access to sanitation supplies. ICE must immediately release all detained immigrants to prevent the spread of COVID-19."

LGBTQ and Immigrant Rights Groups Demand ICE Release All People Currently Detained & Shut Down All Detention Centers in Light of Global Health Crisis

Sign-on support for Families First Coronavirus Response Act

"The Families First Coronavirus Response Act will provide free testing to those who need it, expand access to temporary paid sick and family leave, increase funding for nutrition assistance, unemployment insurance and Medicaid, and ensure protections for health care workers. The Families First legislation takes some critical first steps in expanding paid sick leave and family leave during this national crisis. This proposal is a first step towards making sure we have a family focused response in this crisis and not just a Wall Street focused response.

Ensure all people, regardless of immigration status, have access to care and support during the Covid-19 pandemic - A joint petition to President Trump

Organizational Sign-on to Department of Justice: Stop Federal Immigrant Prosecutions




COVID-19 Does Not Discriminate; Nor Should Our Response - UN Network on Migration (March 20, 2020) 

The rights and health of refugees, migrants and stateless must be protected in COVID-19 response - International Agencies - OHCHR, IOM, UNHCR and WHO joint press release (March 31, 2020) 

Urgent action needed to prevent COVID-19 “rampaging through places of detention” – Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

First, Save Lives: Solutions for the COVID-19 Pandemic and New Solidarity with Migrants and Refugees - Civil Society Action Committee (an international alliance)

Migrants Rights and Health Must Be Protected in the Face of Covid-19 - Zeid Raad Al Hussein, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, April 9, 2020, in The Hill.

Statement of Feminists and Women’s Rights Organizations from the Global South and marginalized communities in the Global North - endorsed by NNIRR

From Crisis to a New Social Compact: An inclusive, intersectional feminist approach is the only way out of the COVID crisis -   Women in Migration Network - NNIRR is a member

* U.S.*

Covid-19 Has Changed Everything - A blog by NNIRR Board Member, Gerald Lenoir, Identity and Politics Strategy Analyst with Othering and Belonging Institute

Undocumented U.S. Immigrants and Covid-19 - A commentary by Kathleen R. Page, M.D., Maya Venkataramani, M.D., Chris Beyrer, M.D., M.P.H., and Sarah Polk, M.D., M.H.S. in The New England Journal of Medicine