Latino lawmakers are urging the Trump administration to investigate working conditions for meat processing workers and issue a temporary emergency safety standard, a day after the president mandated that plants reopen.

President Donald Trump issued an executive order Tuesday requiring plants to stay open or reopen amid concerns about food shortages during the coronavirus crisis. But multiple meat processing facilities across the country have seen the coronavirus ravage their workforces, and Latino members of Congress led by Rep. Joaquín Castro (D-Texas), the Congressional Hispanic Caucus chair, are concerned that some companies are heaping even more risk on workers already prone to high rates of illness.

“Numerous companies across the meatpacking industry have not taken the necessary precautions they need to protect workers,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to the administration. “While some companies were early actors in providing personal protective equipment, the callous inaction of others has reportedly led to multiple deaths and thousands of sick workers, as well as the death of two inspectors from the Department of Agriculture.”

Latinos have been hit hard by the coronavirus, representing a high number of hospitalizations and deaths compared with their share of the overall population, according to early data tracking cases by ethnicity. A disproportionate number of meatpackers are people of color and immigrants — 44 percent are Latino and 25 percent are African American, according to an analysis by the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Latinos are also the least insured population in the country, according to the Office of Minority Health, making them less likely to seek medical care if infected by the coronavirus.

“The majority of these workers are either Latino workers or some of them undocumented or refugee workers from other countries,” Castro said in an interview. “So these are very vulnerable populations who don't have a lot of political or economic power often to change their own working conditions.”

Working conditions at meatpacking plants are just part of a long list of concerns about Latino workers in essential services that have Latino lawmakers sounding the alarm. Many have pleaded with the administration to cease deportations as the coronavirus spreads. And Latino leaders have decried the lack of relief for Latino households and undocumented immigrants in the coronavirus packages passed by Congress.

“If the [Defense Production Act] is going to be used to force workers to appear under these circumstances, all executive orders threatening deportation or other removal actions against undocumented workers in these plants must be immediately suspended,” said Rep. Filemón Vela (D-Texas). “Furthermore, all essential workers and their immediate families should be given immediate green card status.”