We should start thinking now about a new question in immigration policy: to wit, should legal status be a factor when the COVID-19 vaccine or vaccines are distributed?
Clearly, it will take at least months to manufacture and distribute, one arm at a time, the new vaccine or vaccines, so we must set priorities, preferably at the national level.
Clearly, medical personnel, from MDs down to hospital janitors, should be first in line, along with law enforcement people and first responders. Maybe the military is next.
High priority should be given to people with the virus (if that makes medical sense.)
Another high priority should be given, and probably will, to those who are elderly, particularly elderly with pre-existing conditions that make them more vulnerable than others. (This 80+ writer fits into that category.)
After that the priority rankings picture gets a little fuzzier. Should some high-incidence areas of the country get priority before low-incidence areas? Maybe.
And what do we do with the variables of ethnicity which mix with those of migration status?
Should we give priority to citizens, then green card holders, then aliens in legal nonimmigrant status, and only after all these categories are taken care of, illegal aliens? While some may disagree with me, I think not.
My sense is that priority should be given to those most in danger, not those with the most money (which is what usually happens), or to the people with the best civil status, i.e., citizens first.
The people most in danger of contracting COVID-19, as we know from multiple sources, are people of color, people with low incomes, and people who cannot work (as I can) from home.
People with the most likelihood of getting the virus are also, I would assume from my non-medical perch, the people who are most likely to spread it. It is to the interest of all of us that the illegal alien farm worker gets the vaccine before the healthy, 30-year-old Ivy League grad (like my granddaughter). He is more likely to be a spreader than she is.
So I think we should, for once, ignore the migration status variable. I think this makes the most sense for society as a whole and it also carries wonderful by-product – it is easy.
Once we have put the vaccines into the entire U.S. population – I think it should be mandatory and enforced with violators going to prison – we can then start vaccinating overseas populations likely to come to the U.S. illegally, such as from the nations to the south of us.