Throughout the pandemic, over 55 million essential workers risked their health, and the health of their families, on the frontlines of our economy as grocery store clerks, domestic workers, and construction workers. Due to systemic barriers, anti-immigrant policies, and the quality of low wage jobs, many of these workers and their families do not receive workplace protections, livable wages, or benefits like paid leave and paid sick days.
Conditions are particularly tough in the agricultural sector. About 54 percent of immigrant essential workers are undocumented and working in farms and agriculture jobs, toiling in record-breaking temperatures to supply food to families across the country.
The pandemic disparities between these essential frontline workers and top corporate executives are staggering. An Institute for Policy Studies report found that the CEOs of the 100 largest low-wage employers earned an average of $14 million last year.
A preliminary outline of the recovery package, which Democrats plan on passing through the budget reconciliation process without Republican votes, sets aside $126 billion to create a pathway to citizenship for certain categories of undocumented immigrants, including those brought to the U.S. as children, temporary protected status (TPS) holders, farmworkers, and essential workers.