The current health crisis has demonstrated that healthcare is also affected by the crisis. Inequalities, violence and abuses are constantly growing, social policy is losing strength instead of gaining it. We forget the elderly because they “are no longer productive”. We only think about consuming and we think that our happiness is only linked to material things, and not to sharing and cohabitation between people.
At the center of this situation are US, thousands of women, who look after the homes and care when we are not recognized as citizens. Thousands of undocumented, forgotten women not recognized for their essential work. They are not entitled to social security coverage, work long hours without a break, and are often victims of mistreatment, assaults, violence by their employer. The reason, the immigration law, an inhuman law which destroys our rights and which should not exist in a country which claims to be democratic and in favor of the well-being of all.
It is important that we denounce these conditions ourselves, that we do not speak for us.
I don’t have any documents, it’s not a crime. I do not have any documents because this state denies me the right to obtain citizenship. On October 23, 2019, I arrived in Barcelona after fleeing Colombia for political reasons. I was looking to improve the economic situation of my family.I still remember very well my first job search, it was very difficult for women like me: insults, humiliating and obscene offers that were not housework but rather sex work. They said they would pay me more but I had to suffer this violence because I was an undocumented migrant woman. I had to put up with it all without complaining, then run away from this place, with the fear that they harm me.
Currently, I take care of an elderly person. Since I have no papers, I have no contract and no access to social security. It was difficult to get this job. Here in Spain, our chances are very limited due to immigration laws. Due to the pandemic, many of my fellows are homeless, unemployed, without income, with no place to spend the period of confinement. Others have temporary jobs. We were already suffering from racism, inequality, discrimination and injustice before this crisis, but with the pandemic, it got worse.
Everyone tells us that we have to stay at home, but where should those who have no home stay? The people who rent us rooms humiliate us because we are undocument migrants, they treat us like animals. The rooms do not have a window, they are dark and very small.They do not let us cook or wash our clothes. We do not have an internet connection and we cannot register at our respective addresses.
The uncertainty in which we live is greater with this crisis. That is why we encourage governments to take their responsibility, to protect and guarantee the rights of everyone. Our request for legalization is not a request to do us a service. We demand our right: to no longer be here illegally, and to have the same chances as everyone else to be able to get out of uncertainty and injustice. It is for us, migrants, to be part of the society to which we contribute and to be able to build a better future for ourselves.
Having papers would allow us to have contracts and demand better working conditions. We could thus contribute to improving the living conditions of our families. We are all important, but those who care for dependent people have a fundamental role in our society.
We cannot get out of this pandemic if our lives cannot all have the same weight in society. Legalizing our situation would allow us to recognize our work and make possible a start in a correct life for all, to no longer be considered “different” and to create new forms of social relationships, based on care and common sharing.