Healthcare Disparities in cancer care

Insurance

Undocumented cancer patients are hesitant about accessing Charity Care or locally funded Medicaid programs. They are fearful of being disqualified for citizenship, should another amnesty bill pass, due to "public charge" laws. 

New York and California are the only two states with insurance programs inclusive of undocumented migrants.  Undocumented cancer patients cannot access health insurance through public service sectors because of their citizenship status in any other state.

Caplan, A. L., & Bateman-House, A. (2017). " Alien" Health Care. American journal of public health, 107(7), 1029-1030.

 

Dwyer, J. (2004). Illegal Immigrants, Health Care, and Social Responsibility. The Hastings Center Report, 34(1), 34. doi:10.2307/3528249

 

Torres, J. M., & Waldinger, R. (2015). Civic Stratification and the Exclusion of Undocumented Immigrants from Cross-border Health Care. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 56(4), 438-459. doi:10.1177/0022146515610617

 
 

Who is considered undocumented?

There are currently over 60 million people in the world who are fleeing their home countries for various reasons. In the United States, there are 11 million undocumented migrants coming from Latino America, Europe, Asia and Africa. 

Why?

  • War

  • Political unrest

  • Persecution 

  • Violence

  • Extreme poverty, and seeking

    • Education

    • Employment 

    • Up-to-date medical care

    • Safety from perceived imminent threat of

      • being kidnapped

      • being murdered

      • being forced into the drug trade

How?

 

  • Immigrants can enter with a tourist visa and illegally overstay their 6-month visa allowance. 

  • Immigrants (including asylum seekers) illegally cross the southern or northern border, between the allowed entry points. 

If someone is claiming asylum, why not come in through a border point?

 

Border points have become so congested with asylum seekers, that the wait time to arrive at the front of the line continues to grow. Using the bathroom, gathering food or receiving medical care requires asylees to get out of line and risk losing their place. The wait is nearly unbearable, especially for expectant mothers and families traveling with small children or elders.

Due to the nature of each individual need, or crisis, many cannot afford the time to wait for a refugee visa or a diversity visa, also known as the "green card lottery."  Many take their chances, having hope in asylum. While others come as migrants, looking for temporary work in agriculture and other labor intensive jobs to alleviate their family's suffering.

Undocumented Migrations StatsMarch30.png
 

Criminalizing Asylum Seekers

Asylum seekers are migrants who are fleeing their country and looking for protections in the United States.  Though the process is easier than requesting refugee status overseas, it still has many complications. Due to changing views, asylum seekers are under extreme scrutiny. 

Many asylum cases are heard in one of two ways:

Affirmative: Asylum seekers must present themselves to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (UCIS) within one year of entry, to request asylum.  During the application review, unless the person commits a crime, asylum seekers have a protection against removal. 

Defensive:  A defensive case is an asylum petition that is received after a person has been detained in the United States without proper documentation. The purpose of this petition is to defer deportation to give the claimant an opportunity to present her claim for asylum.  

If asylum is granted, asylees are not allowed to return to their home country until the become citizens. 

Since the implementation of recent executive orders, seeking asylum has become more difficult, and arrests over illegal entry have increased. Defensive asylum cases are much less likely to be approved, even though the criminal offense of illegal entry is permissible for those claiming asylum. Potential asylees are frequently turned away, or not provided legal counsel to educate them of their right to plead asylum. Lack of legal counsel and fears based on misunderstanding asylum policy force patients into hiding.  

What is Asylum:

What is asylum, who is eligible, and the 180 day EAD clock.

Glossary:

  • Docket: a list of cases for trial or people having cases pending

 

Terms Defined

2019 Undocumented and Ill

Production and Design by Roxanne Ruiz-Adams, DSW, LCSW 

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DISCLAIMER: Roxanne Ruiz-Adams is a Doctor of Social Work, and does not represent herself to be an attorney. The contents herein are not intended to be legal advice or substitute the legal advice of a qualified attorney. If you are in need of legal advice, please seek a qualified attorney. More information can be found on the American Immigration Law Association website