Immigrant workers and their families are a dynamic force behind recent population upturns or stabilization across rural America. In fact, between 2010 and 2016, immigrants from around the world were responsible for 37 percent of net rural population growth. Rural communities that rely on the economic drivers of tourism and recreation and essential services like health care and food production have been hit hard by the impact of COVID-19. Due to multiple risk and systemic factors, the many immigrants employed in these rural industries have been disproportionately affected and face enormous challenges, as do the rural communities where they live and work.
What particular challenges are rural immigrants and their communities experiencing in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis? How are rural development organizations adapting what they do to align with, support, embrace and engage immigrants through the emergency and beyond? And how can policy help?
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