Health disparities and children in immigrant families: a research agenda.
ABSTRACT Children in immigrant families now comprise 1 in 5 children in the United States. Eighty percent of them are US citizens, and 53% live in mixed-citizenship families. Their families are among the poorest, least educated, least insured, and least able to access health care. Nonetheless, these children demonstrate better-than-expected health status, a finding termed "the immigrant paradox" and one suggesting that cultural health behaviors among immigrant families might be protective in some areas of health. In this article the strength of the immigrant paradox, the effect of acculturation on health, and the relationships of acculturation, enculturation, language, and literacy skills to health disparities are reviewed. The current public policy issues that affect the health disparities of children of immigrant families are presented, and a research agenda for improving our knowledge about children in immigrant families to develop effective interventions and public policies that will reduce their health disparities is set forth.
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ABSTRACT: There are approximately 2.3 million mixed-status families in the United States, containing varied combinations of citizens, permanent legal residents, undocumented immigrants, and individuals in legal limbo. These families offer an opportunity to examine the functioning of the contemporary state and its penetration at the household level. For many Latino youth, experiences are framed not only by their own but other family members’ legal status. This article reports on health care seeking experiences of mixed-status families in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of South Texas and the impact of the recent health care reform (Affordable Care Act). We utilized qualitative ethnographic methods including 55 semistructured interviews with mixed- status families and 43 interviews with health care providers, caseworkers, and public health officials. Results indicate that changes accompanying the reform directly and indirectly affect mixed-status households’ ability to access care. We describe strategies in times of illness, including those unique to border communities. We conclude that, for successful implementation of policies associated with health care reform, broader issues related to immigration status must be addressed, especially anxieties regarding future chances of regularization. These uniquely affect mixed-status families, create a ripple effect on all household members, and result in unintended consequences for U.S. citizen children. Implications point to the need for a pathway to citizenship for parents as a basic step in improving well-being of children.American Behavioral Scientist 09/2014; 58(14). DOI:10.1177/0002764214550290 · 0.69 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Undocumented Latino immigrants often struggle to provide food for their families. In an attempt to inform efforts to create effective programs and policies promoting food security, this study explored the experience of food insecurity for low-income, undocumented Latino immigrants. In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with 24 undocumented Latino immigrants. Modified grounded theory was used to analyze the interview data. The experience of food insecurity was similar to other groups' experiences, as it entailed inadequate amount and quality of food. However, immigration and documentation status presented unique vulnerabilities for food insecurity related to unfamiliar food environments, remittances and separation, employment, and community and government resources. Cultural and structural factors that may shape the experience of and response to food insecurity are discussed along with implications for policy and programming.Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health 11/2014; DOI:10.1007/s10903-014-0124-6 · 1.16 Impact Factor