Challenges for immigrant health in the USA—the road to crisis
Primary Health Care
The USA is home to more immigrants than any other country-about 46 million, just less than a fifth of the world's immigrants. Immigrant health and access to health care in the USA varies widely by ethnicity, citizenship, and legal status. In recent decades, several policy and regulatory changes have worsened health-care quality and access for immigrant populations. These changes include restrictions on access to public health insurance programmes, rhetoric discouraging the use of social services, aggressive immigration enforcement activities, intimidation within health-care settings, decreased caps on the number of admitted refugees, and rescission of protections from deportation. A receding of ethical norms has created an environment favourable for moral and public health crises, as evident in the separation of children from their parents at the southern US border. Given the polarising immigration rhetoric at the national level, individual states rather than the country as a whole might be better positioned to address the barriers to improved health and health care for immigrants in the USA.