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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UCLA: Barriers to Health – How Immigrants’ Lived Experiences Affect Their Access to Care

More than 800,000 undocumented young people brought to the United States as children, along with 300,000-plus foreign-born individuals who have lived and worked here for upward of two decades, face an uncertain future as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) programs hang in the balance. The national discourse includes references to “caravans” of migrants headed toward the border, depictions of undocumented immigrants as killers, and appeals for a wall along the Mexican  border. As the rhetoric is ratcheted up, millions of immigrants live with the constant fear that they or a loved one could be deported under an immigration enforcement infrastructure that has grown over the last decade.

These and other developments contribute to a social context with wide-ranging public health implications for all immigrants and their family members — and, by extension, for the overall well-being of the communities across the nation in which immigrants reside, according to Dr. Steven P. Wallace, professor of community health sciences and associate director of UCLA Fielding School of Public Health UCLA Center for Health Policy Research (CHPR), and Dr. Maria-Elena Young, a research scientist at the center and a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Merced. Starting in September 2017, with funding from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, a team led by Dr. Wallace embarked on RIGHTS (Research on ImmiGrant HealTh and State policy), a five-year study to better understand how Asian and Latino immigrants’ experiences with policies in California affect their access to health care.

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