217914 Impact of enhanced Immigrations and Customs enforcement on immigrant health: Perceptions of immigrants in Everett, MA

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Karen Hacker, MD, MPH , Institute for Community Health, Cambridge Health Alliance and Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA
Jocelyn Chu, ScD, MPH , Institute for Community Health, Cambridge Health Alliance and Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA
Robert P. Marlin, MD, PhD , Department of Medicine, Cambridge Health Alliance and Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA
Carolyn Leung, EdD, MA , Tufts Clinical Translational Science Institute, Tufts Medical School, Boston, MA
Mohamed Brahimi, MA , Muslim American Civic and Cultural Association (MACCA), Malden, MA
Margaret English, MA , Everett Literacy Program, Everett, MA
Alex Pirie, BA , Somerville Community Corporation, Immigrant Services Provider Group/Health, Somerville, MA
Robert Marra, MBA , Community Affairs, Cambridge Health Alliance, Somerville, MA
Following rapid growth and diversification of US immigrant populations over the last two decades, cities have witnessed increasing racial and ethnic diversity. Concurrently, there has been a significant intensification of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) efforts as evidenced by a five-fold increase in deportees in 2008 compared to 1996. The fear of deportation has left many immigrants living in a hypervigilant state and the recent national debate over immigrants' right to health care has exacerbated this anxiety.

In Everett, MA where the immigrant population has tripled in the last decade, immigrant groups, local institutions, community members and health providers were concerned that ICE activities were negatively impacting immigrant health. This coalition approached researchers to conduct a community-based participatory research project aimed at delineating the impact of enhanced ICE enforcement on immigrant health. Together they designed, conducted and analyzed focus groups in 5 languages (Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Haitian Creole, and English). Topics covered health access, the relationship between police and ICE, and the impact of ICE activity on chronic disease.

Common themes across focus groups included 1) fear of deportation 2) the impact of this fear on health care compliance and on mental health 3) real and perceived relationships between local law enforcement and ICE leading to unlimited discretion and 4) concerns about documentation required for insurance and health care.

This presentation will describe both common and divergent themes across focus groups, In addition, participant recommendations for interventions and policy change related to immigrant health and health access will be discussed.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the impact of ICE enforcement on the health of immigrants in Everett, MA Discuss the obstacles to health care posed by documentation requirements for immigrants

Keywords: Community-Based Partnership, Immigrants

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I lead community based participatory research projects
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.