BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The coronavirus pandemic is hitting the Latino community particularly hard across the nation, and Baltimore City is no exception.

Highlandtown is one of Baltimore City’s largest Latino communities. Residents told WJZ they have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, mainly because they’re out of a job, out of money and don’t have any kind of safety net.

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Many residents were at meal distribution sites in Highlandtown on Tuesday.


“We’re picking up some food because my mom is looking for a job, but she couldn’t find a job yet,” a child told WJZ.

For those too sick to come, boxes of food were delivered to their doorsteps.

“I receive messages every single day. I have the symptoms,” Janet Arce said.

Latinos are contracting the coronavirus at alarmingly high rates in a zip code among the hardest hit by the pandemic, growing fear in a community left with few resources.

“Many people in the Latino community who are undocumented are not going to be eligible for federal help. They can’t apply for unemployment, they’re not going to get a stimulus check,” Gabriela Roque, of CASA Maryland, said.

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There are roughly 250,000 undocumented immigrants in Maryland, according to the Pew Research Center.

“They swipe their card and it says declined. They can’t purchase the whole thing, or they have to put some back,” Evaristo Guzman, Owner of Cinco De Mayo Market, said.

It’s a new reality playing out at the local market.

“That’s very sad seeing,” Guzman added. “What are you willing to give up to eat?”

“There’s no safety net for the Latino community,” Roque said. “If they don’t have a safety net in this crisis, it’s going to affect the whole city.”

Organizations like CASA are pleading with the governor to offer any kind of financial aid to Maryland’s roughly 250,000 undocumented immigrants.

Gov. Larry Hogan’s office issued the following statement to WJZ:

“Maryland has a number of human and healthcare services currently available for our undocumented communities. We will continue to work with all Marylanders to connect them to as many resources as possible as we continue to navigate this pandemic.”

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Annie Rose Ramos