Undocumented Immigrants and Health Care in the United States

Expanded Resources for New Challenges

The Undocumented Patients project public database and other project resources have expanded in response to federal policy changes introduced by the Trump administration that affect, in addition to undocumented immigrants, legally present immigrants and asylum seekers.

  • Pop­u­la­tion health among set­tled immi­grants and cit­i­zen chil­dren in the US is being dam­aged by per­va­sive fear, chill­ing effects, and house­hold dis­rup­tion (Kaiser Fam­i­ly Foun­da­tion 2017).
  • The Trump admin­is­tra­tion has expand­ed the list of ben­e­fits that, if accessed by green card appli­cants, will reduce their chances of achiev­ing cit­i­zen­ship.
  • The ben­e­fits accessed which make some­one a pub­lic charge, pre­vi­ous­ly only cash ben­e­fits, now include access­ing health­care through Med­ic­aid or SNAP.
  • This rede­f­i­n­i­tion of the Immi­gra­tion and Nat­u­ral­iza­tion Act’s “pub­lic charge” clause, cur­rent­ly paused through a pre­lim­i­nary injunc­tion, has lead to a chill­ing effect, reduc­ing health­care use by nonci­t­i­zen and cit­i­zen immi­grants alike (Katz and Chok­shi 2018).
  • Fears regard­ing impacts of the pub­lic charge rule over­lap with fears regard­ing deten­tion and depor­ta­tion.
  • Low-income pop­u­la­tion with lim­it­ed access to jobs offer­ing health insur­ance. Exclud­ed from fed­er­al­ly fund­ed insur­ance (Medicare, Med­ic­aid).

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