10 Key Takeaways from our #ImmigrantsThrive Twitter Chat

Monday April 20, 2020

Twelve million immigrant workers are either employed in essential jobs on the front lines fighting COVID-19 or are facing economic hardship due to the pandemic, per the Migration Policy Institute. Many are employed in sectors experiencing massive layoffs or that lack paid sick leave. Others are afraid to seek health care and essential services because of the public charge rule. 

In the face of these challenges, a number of organizations, researchers, and other entities have begun to form ideas and develop efforts to provide information, relief, and support to immigrant workers and their communities.  

To bring together partners in the immigrant-serving sector, the WES Mariam Assefa Fund and WES Global Talent Bridge program hosted a Twitter chat –  #ImmigrantsThrive, in early April. Organizations and leaders shared knowledge and ideas to ensure immigrants are well-supported and part of COVID-19 solutions 

Here are 10 key takeaways that surfaced during this collaborative discussion:

1. Immigrant workers are on the front lines of the pandemic.

2. COVID-19 is hitting black and brown communities in the U.S. the hardest. 

3. Undocumented immigrants are especially vulnerable. Policy solutions must include access and protection for undocumented immigrants.   

4. More generally, equitable, inclusive policy is critical as the COVID-19 pandemic plays out. 

5. There are 263,000 immigrants and refugees with degrees in health-related fields could help in the fight against COVID19 but face unnecessary policy barriers. Action is needed to change this.  

6. There is an urgent need to translate all government updates and resources for immigrant communities.  So far, information circulated by the government about the stimulus bill has not been translated into other languages in full, which is having many impacts.  

7. COVID-19 is affecting non-profits and service providers who work on behalf of immigrants and refugeesThe pandemic is making direct service work especially challenging, and many organizations are experiencing financial, operational, and staffing impacts

8. Despite these challenges, immigrant-serving organizations are stepping up and pivoting their approachesTrainings are now being offered virtually for immigrant and refugee workers and jobseekers.  

9. It’s important to be thoughtful and inclusive about community outreach in the virtual space, as well as recognize gaps in digital literacy.

10. Funders and employers have a critical support role to play – both now and for future recovery.  


Click here for a full list of resources shared. 

Thank you to participating organizations!  

  • All for All  
  • Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation  
  • Building Skills Partnership 
  • Community College Consortium for Immigrant Education  
  • Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE) 
  • English from A to Z 
  • Immigrant Learning Center  
  • IMPRINT Coalition
  • Jobs for the Future  
  • Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition  
  • Mission Driven Finance  
  • National Partnership for New Americans 
  • National Skills Coalition  
  • New American Economy  
  • Needslist  
  • Nonprofit Finance Fund  
  • One Refugee  
  • Portland Office for Economic Opportunity 
  • Refugee Investment Network  
  • Riverside Language Program 
  • Robin Hood Foundation  
  • Switchboard TA 
  • Upwardly Global 
  • Voxy  
  • Welcoming America  
  • Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians 
  • WorldEd  

Stay in Touch

Thank you for your interest in the WES Mariam Assefa Fund. We’ll share updates on the Fund’s efforts, what we’re learning, and opportunities through our email list.