A new Pew Hispanic report concluded that are 8.8 million people who are living in mixed-status households, meaning that people in the same family have different immigration statuses–born and naturalized U.S. citizens, documented immigrants, and undocumented immigrants. They also note that 76% of undocumented immigrants are Latino.
This report highlights the tremendous impact that anti-immigrant policies have of the reproductive health of Latinas and their families.
- Immigration raids, meant to brutally intimidate immigrant communities, result in nonsensically separating parents from their children based in immigration status and often place pregnant and breastfeeding women in detention where they cannot access prenatal care or pump milk.
- Eligibility for public health insurances like Medicaid and CHIP have excluded documented immigrants for their first 5 years in the U.S., and immigrants with no documentation have almost no access to affordable health care except in the most serious emergencies, like childbirth. For Latin@s in mixed-status households, some are afraid that accessing the care they are eligible for may put at risk the safety of a family member who is undocumented. It also means that some family members are arbitrarily left without any access to health care at all. For Latinas who want to plan for or prevent pregnancy, and get the best care possible for the children they are raising, policies that cut out immigrants from the health care system are undermining their health and well-being.
There is some promising news: this article reports that immigration raids “have slowed to a near halt.” But the reproductive justice community must join others in holding the Obama Administration accountable for ensuring that raids stop completely – not just so the census goes smoothly, but so that health and human rights of Latinas and their families are ensured.
Additionally, the new CHIPRA law has removed the 5 year bar on Medicaid and CHIP eligibility for documented immigrants who are children and pregnant women. Again this is only promising news- it is up to the states to take up this policy and extend health care coverage to more immigrant women and children under this law. Reproductive justice activists must take this opportunity to mobilize to hold their state governments accountable for doing so.
–Liza Fuentes, Senior Research Associate