Immigration & Health Care

Stop Human TraffickingACCMA has worked in collaboration with the California Academy of Family Physicians and CAFP Foundation, San Francisco Marin Medical Society, American Academy of Pediatrics-California, Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons of California, and Sonoma County Medical Society to increase awareness within the health care community of ongoing issues created by the current immigration policies in our country.

Some of the issues being raised by immigration actions at the Federal level, such as the separation of families, ICE activities, changes to the Public Charge policies for Medicaid, and CHIP, will have repercussions for all members of the community, including physicians, their clinical practice teams, and their patients. The ACCMA believes that increasing physician and practitioner awareness about immigration issues will create a more stable and responsive community, if and when these immigration actions are implemented.

Each of the six partners involved in this project have implemented a multi-pronged information strategy that includes a series of position papers, which can be referenced below.


The Change in Public Charge

In September 2018, the Trump Administration issued a proposed regulation that changes long-standing rules governing how and whether immigrants can be determined to be a "public charge;" widens the scope of programs considered by the government in making such a determination; and dramatically lowers the bar for refusing admission or denying individuals green cards or US visas on this basis. The concept underpinning this proposed rule may be replicated in other future proposed rules.

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Immigration Rights and Responsibilities

The potential for increased enforcement of federal immigration regulations has raised concerns among health care providers and their patients about individual rights and responsibilities. It is essential that all physicians, but especially family physicians and other primary care physicians, know their rights and responsibilities before responding to enforcement actions by immigration officials and interactions with law enforcement that could result in immigration consequences.
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Family Separation

Children in families in which a parent has been detained and deported exhibit significant changes in behavior that can include "changes in eating and sleeping, frequent crying, increased fear and anxiety, and/or withdrawal or anger." Some children experience "speech and developmental difficulties, including regression and reversal of developmental milestones."

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Health Consequences

Family separation and detention can complicate and exacerbate existing trauma among vulnerable populations. As noted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, separating children from their parents exposes them to "toxic stress" that can disrupt healthy development and lead to lifelong negative impacts on their mental and physical wellbeing.

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ICE Raids

The primary effect of the threat of an ICE raid on a health care facility is a reticence among patients to seek medical care. Three steps should be taken by family and primary care physicians:

  1. Prepare your team, practice and/or facility to respond to a raid/ICE intervention.
  2. Inform your patients about their rights.
  3. Gather information about an ICE raid that has already occurred.

Click here to read more.