Today the Massachusetts Public Health Association (MPHA) expressed strong support for Attorney General Maura Healey’s lawsuit challenging the executive order on immigration issued by President Trump. This order is a direct threat to our public health and safety and it should not stand. Immigrants working in all sectors of our economy provide tremendous resource to our state and nation. When immigrants are made to feel afraid of deportation or at constant risk, there are direct health consequences for them, their families and entire communities.
According to a 2012 peer reviewed study focused on the effects of immigration and customs enforcement on health in Everett, Massachusetts, deportation or threat of deportation creates a climate of fear where documented and undocumented immigrants alike experience exacerbated health conditions like stress, anxiety, and hopelessness. In addition, children experience direct impacts including poorer health, poorer behavioral outcomes, and poorer educational outcomes. Immigrants who live in a climate of fear are less likely to make it to health appointments or to use public services. This can impact regular doctor’s appointments, getting vaccines, accessing prenatal care, HIV education, and care for communicable diseases like tuberculosis. Fear of deportation also makes victims of domestic and gender-based violence less safe because they are less likely to seek services or report abuse.
We applaud the Attorney General’s actions today and stand ready to assist in whatever way we can.