News Release

University of Minnesota launches the “Immigrants in COVID America” project

Statue of Liberty wearing a mask
Credit: narvikk

The University of Minnesota recently launched the Immigrants in COVID America project, a timely resource and website that documents the health, economic and social impact of COVID-19 on immigrant and refugee communities in the United States. 

The project’s website includes fact-based research and reporting from reputable national media sources and think tanks; perspectives from experts, scholars and political commentators; and provides a summary analysis of emerging trends and issues. Researchers on the project found four issues that have particularly affected immigrants, refugees and asylees during the pandemic: immigration policy, health, labor and the economy, and anti-Asian xenophobia.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of us,” said Regents Professor of History and Asian American Studies and Distinguished McKnight University Professor Erika Lee, who is leading the Immigration History Research Center research team behind the project. “However, Black, Indigenous and other communities of color are at a higher risk of death from COVID-19 complications and face the highest unemployment rates. Some are facing increased racism and hate crimes, while others face an upended immigration and refugee admissions system in the U.S.”

Lee’s team wanted to create a historical record of the crisis and provide a publicly-accessible resource for students, teachers, researchers and the general public. They hope it will be a starting point for more research, teaching and learning, creative work and advocacy. 

Through a partnership with the Sahan Journal, a nonprofit digital newsroom dedicated to providing authentic news reporting for and about immigrants and refugees in Minnesota, the Immigration History Research Center will create digital stories documenting the experiences of immigrants and refugees during the pandemic. Additionally, in collaboration with Gustavus Adolphus College Professor Maddalena Marinari and her research team, the Center will update the site throughout 2020. This work is funded, in part, through a SSRC Rapid Response Grant on COVID-19 and the Social Sciences from the Social Science Research Council.


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