As we continue living through this pandemic, ongoing protests, work strikes, and mass unemployment that disproportionately affect Black and Brown people have shaken our country. And, as local governments continue loosening restrictions, experts warn of a worse “second wave” of COVID-19 cases. This week’s “5 Essential Updates” for our gente includes a delayed naturalization, danger in ICE detention centers, and getting through the summer with a “quarantine pod”. 

1. Immigrants sue the delay of naturalization — Imagine being just one step away from becoming a legal citizen, and suddenly the process stops because of the coronavirus 😞 Two immigrants, among the thousands awaiting, are suing the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to expedite the process, and hope to be able to vote in November.

2. More deaths at ICE detention centers — When the coronavirus pandemic broke out, many activists called for the release of immigrants from detention centers. In Houston, one in five immigrants detained by ICE has COVID-19. Just three months after the pandemic started, four guards who work for the private corrections company LaSalle have died from the virus. This shows that infected guards are increasing risks of spreading the virus to vulnerable detainees. 

3. Xenophobic, racist COVID-19 remarks The pandemic has emboldened people to say baseless remarks, like assembly Speaker Robin Vos claiming that “immigrant culture” was to blame for the COVID-19 outbreak in Racine County, Wisconsin. Another of the many racist statements spewed came from Ohio State Senator Steve Huffman, who ignorantly said that people of color are affected by COVID-19 because they “don’t wash their hands well.”

4. Resources for Latinos’ mental health — As our need for mental health resources during this pandemic grows, so do our resources. One of these groups is La Puerta Abierta in Philly, another is a group of healthcare professionals in California advocating for additional state mental health funding for Latinos and other non-white communities.

5. Socializing in pods  — The majority of epidemiologists believe we won’t be able to hug someone for at least another year. That’s proving difficult for many of us, since we’re naturally affectionate. One solution? Creating “Quarantine Pods” with select loved ones (1-2 other families) to safely increase social interactions. These pods could be our saving grace as we await a vaccine while social distancing.