Protecting Immigrant Rights is a Public Health Issue


Attorney General Maura Healey at press conference announcing lawsuit against immigration ban

On January 27, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order banning immigration from seven majority Muslim countries. The immigration ban, which is currently stayed, was issued under the guise of protecting public safety as was the President’s threat to block federal funding to sanctuary cities. These threats to immigrant rights are not only unjust, they are counterproductive. Evidence suggests these sorts of actions would do little to protect the health and safety of our communities. And in fact, these threats to immigrant rights may make our communities less safe and less healthy.  See our statement in response to the Executive Order and in support of Attorney General Maura Healey’s lawsuit here.

We know that Immigrants who live in fear of deportation are not only less likely to report crimes, they are also less likely to seek medical care for themselves or their children. According to a paper in the Harvard Public Health Review Undocumented Immigrants and the Inclusive Health Policies of Sanctuary Cities,” when the US Secure Communities Act was in full effect and cities cooperated widely with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain and deport immigrants, some undocumented families stopped sending their children to school for fear of deportation. Many no longer contacted local law enforcement if they were a witness to or victim of a violent crime. Others avoided visiting their doctors or seeking care at hospitals – including having their children vaccinated.

In addition, the threat of deportation creates a climate of fear and stress which impacts the health of documented and undocumented immigrants alike including children.

Please join us in taking action to protect immigrant rights in the Commonwealth and across the nation. Visit MPHA’s Action Center to learn what you can do.

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