Protecting Marginalized and Vulnerable Populations

Concurrent Session Block 2: 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. ET Wednesday, September 16


Immigration Law’s Adverse Impact on COVID-19
Within the U.S., immigrant communities have suffered disproportionately from COVID-19 due to a variety of factors, including high rates of employment as essential workers; substandard housing; and immigration-based restrictions on non-citizens’ access to public benefits, including Medicaid. This session will discuss the deleterious role immigration laws have played during the pandemic including the recently promulgated public charge rule, along with ongoing immigration enforcement activities and anti-immigrant rhetoric that have compounded these vulnerabilities, leaving many immigrants afraid to access health care or interact with public health workers.

  • Wendy E. Parmet, Matthews University Distinguished Professor of Law and Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, Northeastern University

Protecting the Rights of People with Disabilities
One in four Americans experience some form of disability. On average, people with disabilities experience significant disparities in education, employment, poverty, access to health care, food security, housing, transportation, and exposure to crime and domestic violence. These longstanding inequities are compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and by governmental and private responses that discriminate on the basis of disability. Legal protections of people with disabilities are governed by two key federal laws: the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. This session will examine how the broad reach of these laws impacts a host of issues raised by the COVID-19 pandemic, and how gaps in protections as well as widespread lack of knowledge of and noncompliance with the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act limit their impact.

  • Elizabeth Pendo, JD, Joseph J. Simeone Professor of Law, Saint Louis University School of Law