Immigrant workers, both documented and undocumented, play an important role in the country’s workforce. The COVID-19 pandemic put a new focus on just how much we rely on these workers for essential services.
Agriculture and meat packing, food distribution, grocery retail, healthcare, research, delivery, etc., rely significantly – in some cases almost exclusively – on immigrant labor. The panel explores the facts about these numbers, how we value these workers and secure their safety, and the effect of current immigration policy on handling the pandemic.
David J. Bier is the associate director of immigration studies at the Cato Institute. He is an expert on legal immigration, border security, and interior enforcement.Bier’s work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, and many other print and online publications.
The U.S. Supreme Court and multiple federal appeals courts have cited his research and writing. Bier has testified before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship.
From 2013 to 2015, Bier drafted immigration legislation as a senior policy adviser for Congressman Raúl Labrador, then a member and later the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security.
Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera (Ph.D. in Political Science, The New School for Social Research) is Associate Professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University. Her areas of expertise are Mexico-U.S. relations, organized crime, immigration, border security, social movements and human trafficking. She was the Principal Investigator of a research grant to study organized crime and trafficking in persons in Central America and along Mexico’s eastern migration routes, supported by the Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.
Professor Correa-Cabrera is author of Los Zetas Inc.: Criminal Corporations, Energy, and Civil War in Mexico (University of Texas Press, 2017; Spanish version: Planeta, 2018). She is co-editor (with Victor Konrad) of the volume titled North American Borders in Comparative Perspective (University of Arizona Press, 2020). Her two new books (co-authored with Dr. Tony Payan) are entitled Las Cinco Vidas de Genaro García Luna (The Five Lives of Genaro García Luna; El Colegio de México, 2021) and La Guerra Improvisada: Los Años de Calderón y sus Consecuencias (The Improvised War: Calderón’s Years and Consequences; Editorial Océano, 2021).
Guadalupe is Past President of the Association for Borderlands Studies (ABS). She is Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Non-resident Scholar at the Baker Institute’s Center for the United States and Mexico (Rice University) and Fellow at Small Wars Journal – El Centro. She is also co-editor of the International Studies Perspectives journal (ISP, Oxford University Press).
Julia Gelatt is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, working with the U.S. Immigration Policy Program. Her work focuses on the legal immigration system, demographic trends, and the implications of local, state, and federal U.S. immigration policy.
Dr. Gelatt previously worked as a Research Associate at the Urban Institute, where her mixed-methods research focused on state policies toward immigrants; barriers to and facilitators of immigrant families’ access to public benefits and public prekindergarten programs; and identifying youth victims of human trafficking. She was a Research Assistant at MPI before graduate school.
Dr. Gelatt earned her PhD in sociology, with a specialization in demography, from Princeton University, where her work focused on the relationship between immigration status and children’s health and well-being. She earned a bachelor of the arts in sociology/anthropology from Carleton College.
A warrior for safety net health care and veteran of successful health system reform, Ken leads teams to understand and improve health access, quality, and financing across government-sponsored and private insurance programs. Former Community Health Choice CEO for 11 years. Ken is also adjunct faculty at the University of Houston College of Medicine and Rice University’s Jones School of Business.