By Akilah Johnson for The Washington Post

The line started outside, on a street usually teeming with people waiting to enter college bars, and snaked up the stairs of an old firehouse to the Brazilian Worker Center, where shots of the coronavirus vaccine were being administered on this cold New England spring morning.

Finally, it was Maria Sousa’s turn. She had been waiting for more than an hour with her husband and daughter when a center volunteer greeted them in Portuguese and guided them to the registration desk, where they presented their identification — Brazilian passports.

Getting vaccinated here was the only option they considered.

Immigrants have been turned away from pharmacies and other places after being asked for driver’s licenses, Social Security numbers or health insurance cards — specific documentation not mandated by states or the federal government but often requested at vaccination sites across the country, including right down the road from here. Often the request comes in English, a language many of the vaccine-seekers don’t fully understand. 

Some state agencies and businesses that provide vaccinations have acknowledged the problem and vowed that it will stop.Continue reading

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