Refugee Congress Commemorates International Workers Day


WASHINGTON—Refugee Congress commemorates International Workers Day and recognizes the importance of the labors of refugee and immigrant workers, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Refugees and immigrants make up many of the essential workers who are ensuring Americans have access to food, supplies, safe spaces and medical care during this challenging time, and are doing so at great personal risk.

In South Dakota, Smithfield pork factory in Sioux Falls suffered a coronavirus outbreak with more than 640 cases to the plant, yet the plant has reopened, despite concerns raised by workers for their own safety.

“Reopening meatpacking plants without proper safety measures in place is unsafe and inhumane. We must recognize the dangers facing these workers and be careful not to disregard their voices.” – Clara Hart, Refugee Congress Delegate for South Dakota.

Refugees and immigrants make up 16.4% (2.8 million) of all healthcare professionals in the U.S., and are facing great risk on the frontlines of the pandemic. 

“I nurse from my heart. When I take care of my patients, I give them my best. And that’s what gets me up every morning to work.” – Saymu Sackor, ICU Nurse in Pennsylvania.

As the pandemic continues to unfold, we must ensure the health and wellbeing of workers. This is a time to come together and support one another to ensure we all have access to safe work environments, protections and supplies.


Refugee Congress is a nonpartisan national advocacy organization built and led by former refugees, asylum-seekers and other vulnerable migrants to promote the well-being, integration and dignity of all vulnerable migrants. With delegates across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, we use our voices and experiences to inform and influence decision-makers on critical domestic and international issues that affect our communities.