Mexican undocumented migrants will receive vaccine in the U.S. despite immigration status

GREENFIELD, CA - APRIL 27: Farm laborers from Fresh Harvest working with an H-2A visa maintain a safe distance as a machine is moved on April 27, 2020 in Greenfield, California. Fresh Harvest is the one of the largest employers of people using the H-2A temporary agricultural worker visa for labor, harvesting and staffing in the United States. The company is implementing strict health and safety initiatives for their workers during the coronavirus pandemic and are trying a number of new techniques to enhance safety in the field as well as in work accommodations. Employees have their temperature taken daily and are also asked a series of questions about how they feel. Despite current record unemployment rates in the U.S. due to COVID-19-related layoffs, there have been few applications to do this kind of work despite extensive mandatory advertising by companies such as Fresh Harvest. (Photo by Brent Stirton/Getty Images)

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico will invoke labor provisions in the new North American trade pact in a bid to ensure that illegal migrants in the United States receive coronavirus vaccines, the country’s top diplomat said on Wednesday.

Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard told reporters at a regular government news conference that the labor provisions of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) include health protections for migrants regardless of their immigration status.

Mexico’s government will seek to use the provisions to ensure that migrants receive coronavirus vaccines, he said.

“We will invoke the labor chapter of the USMCA free trade agreement,” said Ebrard, emphasizing that the text recognized the “vulnerability” of migrant workers.

It is the responsibility of both Mexico and the United States that all workers have guaranteed access to vaccines, he noted.

“As a consequence, we consider any exclusion of Mexican workers… a violation,” Ebrard said.

Mexico responded with concern last week after the governor of the U.S. state of Nebraska said undocumented migrants would likely not get vaccinated due to immigration status.

The governor, Pete Ricketts, later appeared to partially backtrack, saying citizenship would not be checked prior to vaccination.