Citation: Bastick, Z. and Mallet, M (2021) Double lockdown: The effects of digital exclusion on undocumented immigrants during the COVID-19 pandemic. New Media and Society.
The COVID-19 pandemic shifted many activities online. However, there is little research on the digital inclusion of undocumented immigrants and their experience of the pandemic in the United States. We conducted 32 interviews with undocumented Latino immigrants in the United States to examine how digital technologies mediated their experiences of the pandemic. We find that undocumented immigrants (1) face barriers to telehealth services, (2) are at high risk of COVID-19 misinformation, (3) experience difficulties in assessing privacy risks, and (4) experienced heterogeneous outcomes of technology use during the pandemic. Our analysis shows that digital technologies both supported and further marginalized undocumented immigrants during the pandemic. Future research on the digital inclusion of vulnerable populations should pay particular attention to the interaction between their underlying vulnerabilities, on the one hand, and attitudes, uses, and outcomes associated with technology, on the other.
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