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Fortifying the Boundaries of Deservingness: Israeli Government Steps up Policies of Exclusion towards Irregular Migrants – Nora Gottlieb

April 10, 2012 1 comment

Nora Gottlieb
 Ben Gurion University of the Negev

On January 11, 2012, the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) passed an amended ‘Infiltrator Law,’ whose declared purpose is to deter irregular migrants and asylum seekers from entering the country. The law enables draconian measures, including three-year imprisonment without trial for entering the country illegally. In its original version, the law would have made assistance to irregular migrants punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment, but that particular paragraph was removed at the last minute.

Ironically, the logic of exclusion and securitization that underlies such laws has its roots in Israel’s self-concept as the homeland that guarantees the Jewish people protection and safety from persecution. The Infiltrator Law is part of a recent wave of policy decisions that solidify the denial of social and health rights to various (non-Jewish) migrant populations. Below I critically evaluate some of these recent policy developments in terms of their implications for the health rights of irregular migrants and asylum seekers in Israel.

Independence Garden, © Natan Dvir

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New Special Issue of Social Science & Medicine – “Migration, ‘illegality,’ and health: Mapping embodied vulnerability and debating health-related deservingness”

March 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Sarah Willen
University of Connecticut

Earlier this month, the journal Social Science & Medicine published a Special Issue — “Migration, ‘illegality,’ and health: Mapping embodied vulnerability and debating health-related deservingness” – that showcases the ongoing work of both the Initiative on Unauthorized Immigration and Health within the Society for Medical Anthropology’s Critical Anthropology of Global Health Special Interest Group and the AccessDenied community.

We are delighted to recap that volume here, and we encourage interested readers to access the individual articles via the journal’s website.[1,2]

In this new collection, we propose the time is ripe for rigorous interdisciplinary conversation about two urgent matters: first, the complicated but largely under-investigated matter of health-related deservingness, and second, the ways in which “illegality,” like other forms of marginalization and exclusion, can become literally embodied. 

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Benefits vs. Ethics? Re-Assessing Healthcare Access for the Undocumented in France – Stéphanie Larchanché

December 8, 2010 1 comment

Stéphanie Larchanché
IRIS-EHESS and Centre Françoise Minkowska, Paris

In March 2010, the French National Assembly voted to further limit healthcare access to the undocumented. Since 2001, State Medical Aid (AME) has provided undocumented immigrants living in France with free healthcare coverage. To be eligible for AME, one must provide proof of residence in France for a minimum of three months and evidence of limited monthly income (below 634 euros). Soon after this arrangement was created, however, additional restrictions were added as requirements for access to AME including presentation of a valid government-issued ID, presentation of a housing certificate – which can only be received via specific state-mandated social services – and a mandatory minimum service fee for health services. On March 2nd, 2010, following discussions on budget restrictions, center-right Assembly representative Dominique Tian proposed still more limitations on AME, including the addition of a 30 euro application fee and additional restrictions on covered healthcare services. According to Tian, «If one is willing to pay several thousands of euros to come to France, I doubt that a 30 euro application fee will prevent one from accessing care.»

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Who picked the strawberries you ate for breakfast? “Afflicting the comfortable” as pedagogic strategy – Sarah Willen

October 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Sarah S. Willen
SMU

Do unauthorized im/migrants have a right to health? To medical care? To publicly funded care? These questions – all of them vexing, provocative, and contentious – catalyze the work we do here at AccessDenied, where we aim not to provide pat answers, but to serve as a clearinghouse for fresh ideas and resources of intellectual and practical value. Sometimes, though, we wonder how much preaching we do to the choir. What about those who find it reasonable, logical, or common sensical to declare unauthorized im/migrants automatically “undeserving” or, more commonly, those who have not (yet) given the matter any serious thought – including, quite frequently, our students?

In this post, I consider these questions through two lenses: first, a rallying cry issued 20 years ago by critical medical anthropologist Merrill Singer, and second, a recent pedagogical adventure in the Green Mountains of Vermont. I’ll begin with the rallying cry.

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Access Not Denied? The Role Localities Can Play – Helen B. Marrow

Helen B. Marrow
Universities of California at Berkeley and San Francisco

Mounting evidence shows that rather than overusing healthcare services, as both the American public and its elected officials frequently allege, unauthorized immigrants actually suffer from serious healthcare disparities.[i] A few localities around the United States have implemented noteworthy measures to improve unauthorized immigrants’ healthcare access and reduce these disparities.  My research from San Francisco demonstrates how, and why, such measures work.

Unauthorized immigrants have long been deemed “undeserving” of most forms of health care in the United States, especially since the mid-1970s, when the first legal status restrictions on a variety of government programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, were enacted (Fox 2009).  Read more…

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