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Unequal Access: Immigrants and U.S. Health Care

By Sarita A. Mohanty, M.D., M.P.H.

Despite the important role that immigrants play in the U.S. economy, they disproportionately lack health insurance and receive fewer health services than native-born Americans. Some policymakers have called for limits on immigrants’ access to health insurance, particularly Medicaid, which are even more stringent than those already in place. However, policies that restrict immigrants’ access to some health care services lead to the inefficient and costly use of other services (such as emergency room care) and negatively impact public health. The future economic success of the United States depends on a healthy workforce. Therefore, policies must be devised that improve, rather than restrict, immigrants’ access to quality health care. Read more...

Published On: Mon, Jun 05, 2006 | Download File

Beneath the Pines: Stories of Migrant Tree Planters

The stories of migrant workers who are brought to the United States from Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras to plant trees, thin forests and apply herbicides for timber contractors.

Published On: Fri, May 19, 2006 | Download File

Learning from IRCA: Lessons for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

If the current political stalemate over immigration reform is any indication, many U.S. policymakers have yet to heed the lessons of recent history when it comes to formulating a realistic strategy to control undocumented immigration. In 1986, lawmakers passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) in an attempt to reign in undocumented immigration through heightened worksite and border enforcement, combined with legalization of most undocumented immigrants already in the country. Read more...

Published On: Wed, May 03, 2006 | Download File

Immigration Scare-Tactics: Exaggerated Estimates of New Immigration Under S.2611

The debate over S. 2611, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act, has been clouded by grossly exaggerated estimates of the likely scale of future immigration under the bill.

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Published On: Sat, Apr 01, 2006 | Download File

Guest Workers Program with a Path to Legalization

As we have seen in the last month, segments of the United States media, policy leaders, and populace continue to be obsessed with the issue of undocumented immigration to the United States. Turn on CNN and you may find Lou Dobbs chastising President Bush for failing "to enforce immigration laws that would slow the invasion of illegal aliens." Open the Los Angeles Times, and you can read about California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger singing praises for the Minuteman Project, the volunteer group of Arizona vigilantes formed to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border. Open a paper in Las Cruces, New Mexico and you can read about Mexican workers in Chihuahua, Mexico waiting for the right time to cross the border illegally to find work as ranch hands in New Mexico or in construction in Chicago. In Boise, Idaho a letter to the editor complains about illegal immigrants and "[contractors] willing to pay cheap wages under the table...in lieu of hiring American citizens."

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Published On: Sat, Apr 01, 2006 | Download File

Achieving 'Security and Prosperity': Migration and North American Economic Integration

Most of the border-enforcement and immigration-reform proposals currently being considered in Washington, DC, are not comprehensive or adequate solutions to the issue of undocumented immigration. The process of North American economic integration, and development within Mexico itself, create structural conditions that encourage Mexican migration to the United States. Read more...

Published On: Mon, Feb 06, 2006 | Download File

Playing Politics on Immigration: Congress Favors Image over Substance in Passing H.R. 4437

Congressional representatives who supported H.R. 4437—the Border Protection, Anti-Terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005—are most likely to represent districts with relatively few undocumented immigrants.

Published On: Wed, Feb 01, 2006 | Download File

More Than a Temporary Fix: The Role of Permanent Immigration in Comprehensive Reform

The immigration debate once again is dominated by narrow thinking and the search for simplistic solutions to complex problems. Most lawmakers and the press have come to equate “immigration reform” with the question of whether or not enhanced immigration enforcement should be coupled with a new guest worker program that is more responsive than current immigration policies to the labor needs of the U.S. economy. All but lost in this debate have been the calls by prominent immigration reform advocates to improve and expand pathways for permanent immigration as well.

Published On: Sun, Jan 01, 2006 | Download File

Hidden Victims Evaluating Protections for Undocumented Victims of Human Trafficking

In the United States, human traffickers most frequently exploit the desperation of undocumented immigrants as a means of obtaining victims. Until recently, their lack of legal status precluded undocumented trafficking victims from receiving government protections typically available to other crime victims and kept them from remaining in the United States to assist in the prosecution of their abusers.

Published On: Thu, Dec 01, 2005 | Download File

Five Myths About Immigration: Common Misconceptions Underlying U.S. Border-Enforcement Policy

The current crisis of undocumented immigration to the United States has its roots in fundamental misunderstandings about the causes of immigration and the motivations of immigrants. A growing body of evidence indicates that current border enforcement policies are based on mistaken assumptions and have failed. Undocumented migrants continue to come to the United States, rates of apprehension are at all-time lows, and migrants are settling in the United States at higher rates than ever before. Developing effective and realistic immigration policies requires overcoming five basic myths about immigration.

Published On: Mon, Aug 01, 2005 | Download File