James Rowen
Op Ed

Vos Blames Immigrants for Pandemic

High rate of COVID-19 in Racine caused by “immigrant culture”, Assembly Speaker says.

By - Jun 11th, 2020 05:27 pm
Robin Vos decked out i Personal Protective Equipment.

Robin Vos decked out i Personal Protective Equipment.

Noted Racine County GOP legislator, cultural affairs humanitarian and disease expert Robin Vos — echoing State Supreme Court Chief Justice Pat Roggensack‘s COVID-19 declaration on behalf of “regular folks” who miraculously remained symptom-free – says unapologetically that the persistently steep disease curve in his home county for which he is unaccountable is due to immigrant culture.

“I know the reason at least in my region is because of a large immigrant population where it’s just a difference in culture where people are living much closer and working much closer,” the Rochester Republican said of an outbreak in Racine County.

Vos condemned the recording of his remarks, rather than apologizing for their content.

His not-so-veiled reference to Latino residents in his district who didn’t have access to the free, pandemic-protective gear which the privileged, publicly employed, work-from-home Vos got to use on election day, for example, ignores that many immigrants work in key industries like meat-packing and other environments which require then to work at close-quarters.

And data show that lower-income and minority Americans are disproportionally victimized by COVID-19, having already been put at risk by discrimination and other longstanding social, economic and public health problems.

Here is more of what Vos ignores, or has missed because he won’t educate himself:

But what the coronavirus’ effect reveals is that the Latino demographic is largely made up of people of color working in essential and service jobs on the front lines of transit systems, hospitals, the hotel industry, and the meatpacking and agricultural industries, with a longstanding lack of access to adequate health care.

And speaking of “access to adequate health care,” Vos has consistently blocked federal Medicaid expansion funding for low-income residents in Wisconsin, leaving many vulnerable to disease and early death.

Asked during a Madison luncheon whether he would accept the [available Medicaid] money if he needs to broker a deal on legislation should Democrat Tony Evers defeat [Scott] Walker, Vos said “No way. Never.”

Later reduced to #never.

In reference to this AP story:

Wisconsin Republicans seek compromise on Medicaid expansion

Vos tweeted: #never

Vos’s repellent mentality is typical of Republican Party racism which the COVID-19 pandemic keeps releasing on an exhausted America. A case in point was Ohio Republican legislator Steve Huffman who wondered if “colored” people get COVID-19 from not washing their hands as much.

But Hoffman, unlike Vos, apologized for his remark.

James Rowen, a former journalist and mayoral staffer in Milwaukee and Madison, writes a regular blog, The Political Environment.

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Categories: Health, Op-Ed, Politics

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