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Experts say some immigrants may be fearful of vaccination process

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — While you may not think twice about handed over an I.D. to get vaccinated, for some in the immigrant population this can be a terrifying experienced.

"People with no legal status are very weary of exposing themselves to possible detention by ICE," says immigration attorney Beth Hoffman.

"People who are undocumented are always fearful of giving their information to a government official," adds immigration attorney Sara Dady.

Both attorneys say a big issue weighing heavily on many undocumented immigrants' mind is the public charge rule.

"The common idea is if you use any public benefit, especially health benefits, then you will be barred from getting a green card," says Dady.

The measure was in effect under the Trump administration, but is no longer being enforced under President Joe Biden.

"Getting the COVID-19 vaccine will not impact people with public charge," says Hoffman. "They should go out and get the vaccine without any worries getting the vaccine will impact their immigration case."

These women want to reassure immigrants the information they provide health care professionals in order to be vaccinated will not be shared with any type of immigration enforcement agency. Adding people shouldn't be fearful when they see people into uniform at vaccination sites.

"People should be assured if they encounter National Guardsmen in the course of their duties, their duty is strictly to help administer the vaccine not the enforcement of immigration laws," says Hoffman.

Ultimately, the message from each attorney is one of reassurance. Encouraging those in the immigrant population to take care of themselves, and get the vaccine if they're eligible.

"Fighting COVID-19 means everyone has to get their vaccination," says Dady. "That's the message because COVID does not care what someone's legal status is or isn't. They live here they're part of our public health system.

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13 WREX Newsroom

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