Praying for More Time: Mexican Immigrants’ Pandemic Eldercare Dilemmas


Based on longitudinal research conducted with 21 Mexican immigrants between 2018 and 2021, this article examines the challenges the COVID‐19 pandemic posed to undocumented immigrants in the United States attempting to provide care for aging parents in Mexico. As the United States excluded undocumented immigrants from pandemic support, the pandemic undermined their ability to provide health care for their parents even as the Mexican public health care system crumbled. Meanwhile, as the pandemic hastened their parents’ demise, it thwarted immigrants’ ability to time returns to see their parents before they died. While scholars have amply documented how spatial disparities exacerbated the impact of the pandemic among marginalized groups, few have examined the temporal disruptions caused by the pandemic. This article suggests that the pandemic provoked particular distress by desynchronizing the temporalities of family life across borders and preventing immigrants’ abilities to coordinate care for their parents in time. [COVID‐19, transnational families, eldercare, death, time]