Welcome to AccessDenied: A Conversation on Unauthorized Im/migration and Health! The aim of this blog is to challenge readers and contributors to re-think the political common sense that denies migrants and immigrants access to health care and impedes their capacity to enjoy the social determinants of good health. We also consider how the increased movement of people across national borders affects the health of receiving communities.
We ask our readers and contributors to consider some morally and politically tough questions:
- 430,000 Immigrants have lost their health insurance because the US Department of Health and Human Services sent confusing document requests on what to provide in order to keep insurance.
- Despite calls from Republican leaders, Presidential Hopeful Donald Trump continues rants on undocumented immigrants.
- The arrest of a Mexican woman who presented apparently fake identification at a Houston clinic, may deter other undocumented migrants from seeking healthcare.
- California polls show 47 percent of residents are in support of undocumented immigrant healthcare, and the opposition is mostly found to be supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
- A University of Virginia team has collaborated on a National Institutes of Health-funded project designed to help Latinas in a rural farming community in Florida, developing an interactive, multimedia health education program delivered by virtual humans on a tablet device.
- Existing gray area in law states that a “resident” of the Tom Green county can apply for health care which opens the door for “illegals” to also apply for health insurance no matter their country of origin.
- Dimelo en Espanol, a program created by the Ankerman Institute for the Family, is providing therapy sessions in Spanish, with prices based on family income, to Latino immigrant population.
- Monterey County Board of supervisors have set aside $500,000 to pay for the county’s undocumented residents’ lab tests, radiology and pharmacy services.
- The influx of migrants seeking refuge in European Nations coincides with a lack of discussion about meeting their complex health needs, especially over the long-term.
- Newborn infants of undernourished and abused migrant women heading to European Nations could face future health problems given the stress and injuries suffered by their mothers.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) to provide medical assistance to migrants by training personnel at various points of entry in migration and public health matters, medical supplies, and by assessing E.U. and national preparedness.
- New University College Dublin research shows surprising and disturbing results of migrant mental health needs in Dublin.
- An increasing number of pregnant migrant women in the UK are not seeking antenatal care due to fear of high costs or being thrown out of the UK.
Prepared by Priyanka Rao
In early April 2015, the Israeli government confirmed that it had struck an unusual deal with the government of Rwanda. In return for “millions of dollars in grants and sales,”[i] the central African state would take in asylum seekers from Eritrea and Sudan currently living in Israel. According to media reports, Uganda is contemplating a similar agreement.[ii]
Between 2006 and 2013, approximately 60,000 asylum seekers, most from Eritrea and Sudan, entered Israel through its southern border with Egypt. Seeking a safe haven, they faced a government that deliberately obstructed possibilities for a more stable and dignified life. Israel’s plan to trade asylum seekers to what it calls “safe third countries” demonstrates that the government is prepared to employ unorthodox means, and incur financial expenses, to rid itself of its asylum-seeking population.
The “third country deal” is only the latest in a series of Israeli policy decisions that have compromised asylum seekers’ lives and well-being over the years. Read more…
Arguing for Alliances: Why Business and Religious Leaders Should Promote Migrant Health Care – Ryan I. Logan
Ryan I. Logan
In June 2013, from a top-floor meeting room at the Indianapolis headquarters of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Company, I witnessed an unusual alliance of business leaders and religious leaders who joined to pledge their public support for the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S.744). In front of reporters, these leaders expressed their support for comprehensive immigration reform to state politicians, the general public, and the grassroots political organization called the Indianapolis Congregation Action Network (IndyCAN). What would it take to develop a similarly powerful alliance between religious and business leaders advocating for the provision of adequate and affordable health care for undocumented migrants?
Members of the grassroots political organization IndyCAN, along with religious leaders of Catholic and Protestant denominations, meet with Congresswoman Susan Brooks (seated at table, left side) at a prayer vigil to request her public support for immigration reform. Photo by Ryan I. Logan. Read more…
On Thursday, April 30, from 12:30-2:00pm EST, the Overseas Development Institute in London will hold a public event on “Europe’s migrant crisis: What can be done?” The event will also be livestreamed and tweeted using the hashtag #MigrantCrisis. To register, and for further details, see below or visit ODI’s website.
This year has already seen more than 1,750 migrants die in the Mediterranean as thousands attempt to flee Africa and the Middle East for Europe – largely from Syria, Eritrea and Somalia where conflict is rife.
With sophisticated criminal networks helping more and more people into boats, a lack of funding or support for search and rescue operations and a rising hostility towards migrants across Europe, what can be done to stop the soaring death rate in its tracks? For those tens of thousands who do make it ashore every week, what should happen next?
Can and should development policies play a greater role in supporting migration? Join ODI for this timely debate with migration experts and representatives with first-hand experience of making the journey. Read more…
- Connecting civil rights, policy, and health, scholarly work on how immigrants’ health declines the longer they live in the United States suggests a policy need to address immigrant discrimination.
- Countering challenges to the President’s recent immigration action announcement, legal scholars have asserted the President’s legal authority to extend deportation deferrals to parents of young immigrants.
- In California, State Senator Ricardo Lara proposed a bill that would extend health insurance benefits to unauthorized immigrants who are not authorized to receive benefits through the Affordable Care Act.
- As a result of the President’s recently-announced immigration action, some pundits suggest more immigrants living in mixed immigration status families may be motivated to sign up for health care through the Affordable Care Act.
- LGBT organizations continue to criticize Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials for treatment of transgender detainees, failing to protect them from sexual assault or providing them with medical assistance.
- Despite allegations of Mexican immigrants playing a role in the resurgence of measles, whooping cough, and other vaccine-preventable disease, there is no evidence to support such claims, especially since vaccination rates Mexico are high.
- In a trial against her employer, a migrant worker in Hong Kong shared stories of physical abuse, bringing attention to migrant domestic worker mistreatment.
- Near Italy, more than 300 African migrants may have died in the Mediterranean Sea before Italian Coast Guard officials reached a group of survivors.
- The Australian Human Rights Commission has called for immigrant children to be released from detention facilities.
- After a cemetery shooting in Copenhagen, the Israeli government approved funds to encourage immigration from France, Belgium, and Ukraine.
Call for Papers for Executive Session Submission:
Policing, Estrangement, and Social Inequalities: Denaturalizing Law Enforcement and Police-based Governance
2015 American Anthropological Association Meeting
November 18-22, Denver, Colorado
From Michael Brown to Eric Garner and beyond, recent public attention to African American deaths occurring at the hands of law enforcement officers in the United States has reignited familiar conversations about police relationships with minority communities. Meanwhile, just as President Obama’s year-end immigration announcement pledges to shift the landscape of immigrant policing across the country, we reach a record-high 2.5 million deportations on his watch. While anthropology has long played a critical role in exposing how regimes of social control are perpetuated through taken-for-granted, normalized systems of authority, events such as these suggest there may be a renewed public space for anthropological intervention that helps draw attention to policing and make sense of its effects. Following this year’s AAA theme calling for questioning the familiar and making it strange, we seek papers that denaturalize policing and law enforcement and question how policing supports social inequalities. We specifically seek papers that explore how policing, broadly conceived as law enforcement actions or policy created with specific governing ideals, reinforces power hierarchies based on race, sex, citizenship, or other forms of social difference. In considering how policing may perpetuate inequality, we also welcome ethnographic inquiry into how policing is resisted, contested, and/or mediated as tensions emerge. By making strange regimes of social control operating through policing, we invite papers to respond to the following or related questions:
- How does police activity promote, reinforce, and conceal existing forms of social difference, and in what ways can anthropologists respond?
- How can policing estrange individuals, families, communities, and broad populations, and what are the related consequences?
- What strategies do some communities develop to resist, combat, and cope with intense forms of policing?
- What methodological and theoretical challenges are associated with studying policing, and who or what may be obstructive in ethnographies of police, policy, and power processes?
- How does dialogue across subfields and disciplines aid or hinder our abilities to scrutinize police activity, and what findings can be gleaned through interdisciplinary collaboration?
From Alienation to Protection: Central American Child Migration – Heide Castañeda, Lauren Heidbrink, and Kristin Yarris
Heide Castañeda, Lauren Heidbrink, and Kristin Yarris
During the summer of 2014, the eyes of the United States – indeed, the world – turned their gaze on the thousands of Central Americans crossing borders to seek refuge and opportunity. This resulted in a range of responses – from solidarity and support to racism and exclusion – and a stalled search for solutions. As three U.S.-based scholars conducting research along these migration routes over the past several years, this summer we were pulled somewhat unexpectedly into public debates about Central American migrant children and U.S. immigration policy. Coming one year after failed efforts towards comprehensive immigration reform in Congress, the issue of unaccompanied minors has complicated popular understandings of the reasons, processes, and meanings of migration. Here, we reflect on the broader context and policy implications of our research. Read more…