Despite experiencing mental and physical health issues, many undocumented immigrants avoid seeking help due to the lack of access to health care and/or fear of deportation. Based on the Undocumented and Uninsured report:
- 71% of uninsured immigrant youth have an existing need to access a doctor or specialist about their own health; however, 53% stated that they have not seen a doctor for more than a year.
- 50% of uninsured immigrant youth delayed getting the medical care they needed. Of those, 96% reported the main reason was cost or lack of insurance.
- 74% of immigrant youth report they resort to band-aid care for services, such as emergency Medi-Cal, public hospitals, and community or county health clinics.
Although the following video is intended to be an exaggeration, it does highlight many of our realities avoiding health care services until our illness(es) either heal on their own or get too unbearable.
Many of us are incredibly busy and exhausted by the end of the day as we try to keep up with working, organizing, and/or studying. And yet, it is critical that we take care of our health. This includes eating, exercising, and sleeping well. It also means we have to stay informed and take action.
YOUR HEALTH MATTERS
At My (Un)Documented Life blog, we seek to provide resources for undocumented immigrants, not just in regards to educational opportunities and immigration news, but also our health!
We are continually expanding this health-related page as more information comes in so be sure to return to this page periodically and scroll to the bottom to see new additions.
(Last updated on January 2016)
“Taking Control of Your Health: A Guide to Medi-Cal for Recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” by Educators for Fair Consideration and the California Immigrant Policy Center
In this short guide, you can learn more about Medi-Cal, find out if you qualify, and learn how to apply. For example, “many DACA recipients in California can sign up for free or low-cost health coverage through California’s Medi-Cal program, which provides access to more than just emergency services. This is true because in California immigrants with DACA status are considered “Permanently Residing under the Color of Law” or PRUCOL, a category that is used by government benefit programs in California such as Medi-Cal.”
“Your Health Matters! Enrolling in Medi-Cal as a California DACA Recipient” by the Dream Resource Center
If you live in California, you will also find this guide helpful. In it, you will find information about your health rights and eligibility for Medi-Cal in California (based both on your immigration status and household income). If you do qualify, this guide also walks you through the process of applying for Medi-Cal, including the documents you should get ready and where you can apply (e.g. online or in-person).
“Undocumented and Uninsured: A Five-Part Report on Immigrant Youth and the Struggle to Access Health Care in California” by the Dream Resource Center and the UCLA Labor Center
In 2013, a research team led by immigrant youth in California surveyed over 500 undocumented young adults to learn about their health and access to health care. This report is truly one-of-a-kind, capturing many of the mental and physical concerns undocumented youth often experience. For example, only 27% reported having access to counseling services, 30% had access to emotional wellness services, and an even smaller percentage (19%) participated in support groups.
“Health Coverage and Care for Undocumented Immigrants” by the Public Policy Institute of California
This report highlights additional research on undocumented immigrants’ access (or lack thereof) to health care services.
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