How To Thank Hawaii’s Immigrant Essential Workers

Give them access to state services, because far too many have not been supported as they should be.

By Bennette E. Misalucha, Henry J. C. Aquino


Perhaps it took a pandemic, but Hawaii is only just starting to recognize the contributions of its essential immigrant workers: the people who care for us when we’re sick, protect our food supply and are once again the backbone of our hospitality workforce.




They make incredible sacrifices for our state, yet far too many have not been supported the way they should be.


Immigrants make up 18% of our population. But according to a new report by New American Economy, they account for nearly 40% of agricultural workers, 33% of tourism, entertainment and hospitality employees and nearly half of nursing assistants.


Despite the outsized roles they play, the government does little to empower them. A recent study assessing how well the 100 largest U.S. cities supported and integrated immigrants ranked Honolulu 95th.

We must treat immigrants better.


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