GR US

Mexico to Use Trade Deal to Make Sure Workers Get Vaccine

Αssociated Press

Shoppers and vendors mingle amid the COVID-19 pandemic in an informal street market selling gifts for Three Kings Day in central Mexico City, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

MEXICO CITY — Mexico says it will invoke the labor section of the free trade agreement signed with the United States last year to pressure for its workers in the U.S. to have access to the coronavirus vaccine regardless of their immigration status.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard says, “it is an established right that the worker must not be exposed to infection.”

The exclusion of any Mexican workers from vaccination programs would be considered a violation of the trade agreement, he says.

Immigrant workers’ access to the vaccine became an issue in Mexico last week following comments by Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts. The governor had been asked whether immigrants without papers working in the state’s meatpacking plants would be vaccinated.

Ricketts said: “You’re supposed to be a legal resident of the country to be working in those plants, so I do not expect that illegal immigrants will be part of the vaccine with that program.”

His spokesman later clarified with a statement saying, “Proof of citizenship is not required for vaccination.”

But some immigrant advocacy groups are still concerned that the messaging will discourage people in the country illegally from getting vaccinated.