Working around safety net exclusions during the COVID-19 pandemic: A qualitative study of rural Latinx immigrants

Rural Latinx immigrants experienced disproportionately negative health and economic impacts during the COVID-19 pandemic. They contended with the pandemic at the intersection of legal status exclusions from the safety net and long-standing barriers to health care in rural regions. Yet, little is known about how rural Latinx immigrants navigated such exclusions. In this qualitative study, we examined how legal status stratification in rural contexts influenced Latinx immigrant families’ access to the safety net. We conducted interviews with first- and second-generation Latinx immigrants (n = 39) and service providers (n = 20) in four rural California communities between July 2020 and April 2021. We examined personal and organizational strategies used to obtain economic, health, and other forms of support.