Filipino-made documentary shows need for healthcare access for undocumented workers

It’s documentary by a young undocumented immigrant, which highlights the dire situation of those without legal status in America, focusing on the lack of healthcare access.

Cover/Age, produced by the California Immigration Policy Center and written and directed by Set Hernandez Rongkilyo, was released last year and has made the rounds at independent film festivals and among immigrant rights groups.

“I along with many of our other undocumented comrades have lost loved ones due to our lack of healthcare, because of their immigration status. We recognize sickness does not discriminate, why should health care. Coverage is a film that highlights undocumented people as merely not just survivors but also how we are leading the movement that impacts us and how we ourselves are telling our own stories to highlight the community.”

The film follows how a nationwide lack of health care for undocumented workers can cause great hardships.

With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting many lives, the message of healthcare for all is louder than ever, especially for one of the film’s main subjects — Emma, a Filipino caregiver.

“With this COVID-19 pandemic, undocumented domestic workers like me, a caregiver, a frontliner, risk my life every day.”

While they welcome some health programs and cash aid for California-based undocumented workers during the pandemic, advocates said they need to continue pushing for other social services across the country.

“We really need to move forward with advocating for undocumented in terms of income earned tax credits, as well as maintaining the commitment to expand coverage and maintaining coverage beyond the fiscal year,” said Hector Rodriguez, Cal-Initiative for health equity and action director.

With the world still on hiatus due to the pandemic, Rongkilyo has been virtually bringing the film to many health care advocates and immigrant rights groups to further raise awareness on the struggles these undocumented immigrants face day after day.

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