Many adults support equal access to healthcare for undocumented immigrant children

Many adults support equal access to healthcare for undocumented immigrant children

Access to health insurance is very limited for immigrants living in the U.S. – both undocumented immigrants and permanent residents. But a new survey has found that many U.S. adults who work on behalf of children think undocumented immigrant children should have access to healthcare equal to that of U.S.-born children.

Almost half (42 percent) of survey respondents said they agree or strongly agree that undocumented children and U.S.-born children should have equal access to healthcare, while 33 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed and 25 percent were unsure.

The survey was conducted as part of the University of Michigan National Voices Project—a five-year study of children's opportunities funded through the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's America Healing Initiative—in partnership with the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center. The National Voices Project surveys a unique set of people who are particularly qualified to answer questions about children's opportunities—adults who work and/or volunteer with children.

"Partnering with the National Voices Project gave us the opportunity to see how well people who work with children on a daily basis understand what in the U.S. face," says Susan Reed, supervising attorney at the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center. "While we saw strong support for the health and welfare of all kids, there is still significant work to be done when it comes to ensuring that immigrant children specifically have equal access to the care they need."

According to Reed, current federal policy restricts many poor noncitizen children, including all undocumented children and many children with various forms of legal immigration status, to a very limited form of Medicaid that only covers emergency treatment. Primary care and medical attention for care of chronic illnesses are not covered.

"What we're seeing right now surrounding healthcare for the immigrant population is gridlock because there are millions of children in our communities who are unable to receive necessary healthcare due to their immigration status," says Reed. "If the healthcare access issue isn't resolved, it could entrench a generation of children in poverty and health disparity."

Opinions about healthcare access for immigrant children varied among respondents from different race/ethnic backgrounds. Sixty-one percent of Hispanic respondents agreed/strongly agreed that children should have equal access to healthcare, compared with 53 percent of multi-race/other respondents, 46 percent of African American respondents, and 37 percent of non-Hispanic white respondents.

Additionally, respondents who perceived many/some racial or ethnic inequities in their communities were more likely to favor equal healthcare access for undocumented immigrant children, a finding which held true even when controlling for the race/ethnicity of people who participated in the survey.

"These findings echo what we've seen in previous National Voices Project surveys about opportunities for children and teens," says Matthew M. Davis, M.D., M.A.P.P., director of the National Voices Project and a pediatrician at the University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.

"Adults who see racial or ethnic inequities in their communities tend to more favorably endorse policies that would work toward improving opportunities for the children and teens they work with," says Davis, also a professor of pediatrics, internal medicine, public policy, and health management and policy at the University of Michigan and a member of the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.

But for immigrant rights advocates like Susan Reed and the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, there is much more work to be done to ensure healthcare access for the children of .

Lawful permanent resident children ("green card holders") who have held that status for less than five years are generally ineligible for the full Medicaid program, explains Reed. "Some states have exercised a federal option to provide full Medicaid coverage to lawful permanent resident children and pregnant women who have been in the U.S. for less than five years," says Reed. "Undocumented children and children who have received relief from deportation through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are excluded from participation in Affordable Care Act Marketplace coverage."

"Access to affordable healthcare for children in the U.S. – both immigrant children and U.S.-born children – is a national issue that impacts all of us," says Davis. "Providing access to timely preventive care including vaccines, dental care, primary care, and management of chronic illnesses such as asthma has a remarkable impact on their long-term health and well-being and their ability to learn and participate in our communities."

These data are part of the fifth survey from the National Voices Project, conducted in March-April 2014.

Explore further

Access to mental health care lacking for children, teens across the US

More information: The complete report is available online: … e-immigrant-children
Citation: Many adults support equal access to healthcare for undocumented immigrant children (2014, October 7) retrieved 17 October 2019 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Feedback to editors

User comments

Oct 07, 2014
Guess what? News flash, and many, many, many, many, many more Americans what illegal aliens gone from our country! Despite what this brain washing article says.

Oct 07, 2014
More unsubstantiated propaganda.
When you go to the polls in November, remember that Obama, the DACA crowd, La Raza and the pro illegal lobby are:

· Offering a repeat of failed policies (definition of insanity).
· Circumventing the wishes of the vast majority of US citizens.
· Valuing illegals above lawful immigrants and US citizens.
· Taking your hard earned tax dollars and social security contributions and using them for illegals.
· Deliberately undermining the middle class by allowing illegals to undercut their wages and steal their job opportunities.
· Rewarding criminals, who knowingly cheated and lied.
· Destroying your kid's opportunities and financial futures.
· Blatantly discriminating against prospective lawful immigrants and their poor children by blocking them from entry and jobs.
· Flagrantly undermining our country's respect, our laws and border security.
· Encouraging a wide open southern border with a continual invasion of illegals, dragging the US economy down to that of their native countries.

It's your choice - you know what is right and wrong.
Vote all pro illegal candidates out of office in Nov.

Oct 07, 2014
They really had to dig to find this phony survey sponsored by 17 million illegals all working at American jobs and drawing American benefits. No matter what the government says we need those jobs for Americans good jobs in Service, construction, retail, trades, government. Don't be fooled by government lies making 17 million illegal citizens will bankrupt this already in debt country and turn it into a drug addle sewer.

Oct 07, 2014
This poll is misleading because they most likely polled Illegals for the results on healthcare for illegal children. I believe the results would be less than 10% in favor. Americans never would agree to pay for healthcare for millions of people that do not belong here when most have problems paying for their own families healthcare. Make sure you poll only American citizens!

Oct 07, 2014
This is a totally SKEWED and BIAS article supporting illegal immigrants and undocumented criminals.

Enforce the laws and deport these NON-American criminals. Quit panhandling to these illegal immigration support groups. Shut them down along with the border.

Oct 08, 2014
Americans need to remember that disregarding Hussein 'God D**N America' Obama's frauds, forgeries, scandals and corruption, The Democratic Party grabbed power on the colour of Hussein's skin and Hussein knows that, which is why he shoved Obamacare down America's throat. Seeing that power-greedy Democrats will cheer no matter how he shreds America to pieces, knowing that illegals are an open-ended source of illegal VOTES, Hussein passed DACA while Holder pushed for No VOTER-ID. So what if hard-working, tax-paying, honest and patriotic Americans are murdered, looted and raped? As long as illegal amigos get tax-payer funded WELFARE, as long as Democrats get illegal VOTES, it is a Win-Win, Si?
Hussein, Hillary, Hilda, Nancy. Holder, Harry, Kerry and Jeh are rotten fruits of the same rotten tree: The Democratic Party.

Oct 12, 2014
How about asking progressives this question. Would you support illegal immigration If your own healthcare costs rise 50%, the quality for your children's healthcare and education is reduced by 50%, the odds of you personally being violently attacked increases 50%?

My guess is, since they are Progressive Democrat hypocrites they will answer no way.

Revise the question and just ask if society will suffer (not them personally) they will say they need to help.

Democrats great at sacrificing other peoples lives and money. In this next election if you vote democrat you vote for corruption.

Oct 13, 2014
"Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for Western Civilization as it commits suicide" - James Burnham

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more