The COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant economic crisis has deeply harmed and uniquely impacted minority communities across the country. As captured in an NPR report on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19, "like African-Americans, Latinos are over-represented in essential jobs that increase their exposure to the virus."
The disability community is, by nature, intersectional. Immigration advocacy organization IMM Print estimates that there are up to "1.5 million undocumented individuals…with a disability." Further, Census Bureau data shows that there are more than 44 million immigrants living in the United States and out of that number, up to 6 million are probably living with a disability.
The public charge rule under the previous Administration created significant fear within immigrant communities and deterred many immigrants from seeking to become Americans. This has had second order effects in our nation's school system. In total, our nation's public schools serve 6.3 million students with disabilities. That number specifically includes 1,716,195 Latinx students with disabilities. The changing demographics of America are reflected in these students. 11.4 percent of students with disabilities nationwide, or almost 720,000 students, also identified as English-language learners. Their accommodation needs are compounded by the fact that many come from households that do not speak English at home, adding an extra challenge for parental interaction. It also can be harder to diagnose disabilities in children when they are English language learners.
As such, unique attention is needed to support English language learners, students with disabilities, and the broader community of immigrants with disabilities.