IMMIGRANT HEALTH: Jeopardized By Fear, Study Says
While immigrants nationwide are foregoing public health assistance because they fear it will jeopardize their chances for becoming permanent residents, the Chicago Tribune reports that no place may be worse hit than Los Angeles County. "[H]ome to more immigrant households than any other place in the nation," the county has seen a 71% decline over the last two years in the number of applications for public aid for legal immigrants, according to a recent study. Conducted by the Urban Institute's Michael Fix for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the study found that the dramatic drop in immigrant applications came at a time when the number of citizen applications remained steady and the eligibility requirements remained unchanged. "Immigrants have been seriously discouraged from using public benefits," Fix said. The Tribune reports that the study "concluded that welfare and immigration reforms, related policy changes and fear and confusion among immigrants caused 'a chilling effect on immigrants' use of benefits for which they remain eligible.'" Los Angeles County is one of the few large counties "to have closely scrutinized immigrants' public aid use in the wake of federal reforms," the Tribune reports. The study "is the first part of a long-term federal project to assess the health and economic status of immigrants in Los Angeles and New York City" (Brandon, 1/4). Click immigrant health for previous coverage of this issue.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.