Archive for May, 2020

Global migration and disease spreading

Tuesday, May 5th, 2020

From an Indian report just published: If someone looks into the history of pandemics then they will see that in most cases explorations, conquest, commerce and migrations have paved the way for the development of networks that resulted in the spread of pandemics in different parts of the world.

The small pox, plague, yellow fever, cholera, Russian flu, Asian flu, Swine flu, Syphilis, HIV in most cases spread at first in different parts of the world with various kinds of migrants and mobile traders, missionaries, ship crew, army troops and rich planters. The locally settled, immobile or less mobile or mobile people in inter or intra state appears as ‘passive innocent recipient’ of these pandemics and became ‘compelled carrier’ of these diseases.

In the case of Corona affluent, frequent flyers, business entrepreneurs, travelers, those who are studying or working abroad, singers, players of international tournaments have emerged as first carriers of this virus. It has also circulated in India through skilled or semi-skilled lower middle class or middle-class Indian migrants working in Middle East but Corona may have brought even in Middle Eastern countries by its affluent and mobile sections who may have been frequent flyers themselves.

In the second century BC, ‘Antonine plague ‘, which circulated in Rome, it is said came with the army troops who returned from Middle East after a war. The ‘Justinian plague’ also reached Constantinople around 541 AD with grain ships from China travelling via African and Egypt. It spread through the crew, merchants, ship managers, soldiers and workers. Some historians believe that the 1871 Plague which was recognized as the ‘Indian Plague’ all over the world in fact did not originate in Bengal but reached Bengal with the Irish army and travelled to various parts of Bengal and also other parts of India with army troops and traders.

Badri Narayan Tiwari, In Borders and Epidemic: COVID 19 and migrant workers


Mixed status couples locked out of COVID-19 aid

Saturday, May 2nd, 2020

Upwards of two million citizens and their citizen children (estimated four million) are barred from any pandemic stimulus payment ($1200 for parent, $500 per child) because their spouses do not have a social security number. This was a deliberate act by the Senate to punish a class of citizen, in light of the fact that the Senate did allow stimulus payments to these citizens and their children if they are a member of the military.

On April 28, MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) filed the federal suit on behalf of six U.S. citizens who were denied federal stimulus checks because they filed joint tax returns with spouses who use an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) to pay taxes. ITINS are issued by the Internal Revenue Service to non-citizens who lack a social security number so they can pay taxes. The spouse is very likely paying payroll deductions and income taxes.

One plaintiff is a United States citizen who lives with her husband and three U.S. citizen children in Frederick, Maryland. They have been married for 6 years.

The Migration Policy Institute estimates that close to two million U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents are married to undocumented immigrants. Four million children in the U.S. share a home with at least one parent who is unauthorized.