Key Bridge Tragedy A Reminder of the Risks Essential Immigrant Workers Take

Key Bridge Tragedy A Reminder of the Risks Essential Immigrant Workers Take

By America’s Voice

Washington, DC — The collapse of the Key Bridge in Baltimore is a tragedy that is once again being twisted by right-wing media and elected officials to scapegoat immigrants. Conspiracy theories about terrorists who cross the allegedly “open” border to do us harm is now a reflexive and utterly false narrative of conservatives on TV, Twitter, and Congress. Rather than engage in conspiratorial posturing, we choose to acknowledge those impacted by the incident, many of them immigrant essential workers. Among those still missing, according to The Washington Post, are six members of a road construction crew that included “Mexican, Guatemalan and Salvadoran people.”

As we’ve mentioned before and is covered by major outlets (herehere, and here), immigrants play a crucial role in our economic success and post-pandemic rebound. Migrants often take “essential” jobs that are inherently dangerous, but critical to various industries. As The Wall Street Journal reports, “The crew of workers from Mexico and Central America were well into their night shift, pouring concrete to fix the potholes that dotted the Francis Scott Key Bridge. The job could be dangerous in the daytime, let alone at night. The bridge, suspended up to 185 feet above the Patapsco River, would sway with passing tractor-trailers. But the men needed to work … ‘They’re fathers with families. They’re people who came to earn their bread each day,” said Jesus Campos, who had worked on the bridge but wasn’t on shift Monday night.’”

According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice: 

“Our heart breaks for the families of the lost bridge workers. It’s upsetting, and sadly predictable, how quickly Fox News and others jump to blame immigrants or link them negatively to any story. The reality is that so many migrants risk their lives to come to the United States and then continue taking on risks as they try to make a living and support their families. The pandemic revealed just how essential these workers are to everyday American life, and the continued demonization by right-wing actors is reprehensible.

Referring to the role of essential workers during COVID, Karen Tumulty is correct in her column in today’s Washington Post when she said, ‘doing right by the essential workers who kept the country going during a dark time — and might well be called upon to do it again someday — seems like the least we can do.’”

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