Barriers to Health and Human Services Programs for Immigrants

Barriers to Health and Human Services Programs for Immigrants
Sheryl Tello
HHS 460
Prof. Nilajah Nyasuma
February 7, 2014

Barriers to Health and Human Services Programs for Immigrants
“America is built upon the history of immigration; yet current immigration policy and anti-immigrant sentiment negatively affect the vulnerable population of immigrant families and their children” (Androff et al., 2011, p.77).   Both documented and undocumented immigrants face barriers to education, poor health outcomes, discrimination, and trauma and harm to their communities.   Due to these and other barriers, the immigrant population is at a higher risk to contract and spread communicable diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) and HIV (Dang, Giordano, & Kim, 2012).   The spread of communicable diseases is only one reason why ensuring that all immigrants (documented and undocumented) have access to health and human services programs is so important.
“Over the past 20 years, the foreign-born population in the United States has doubled from 20 million in 1990 to 40 million in 2010” (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011, as cited in Pereira et al., 2012, p.1).   Of these 40 million immigrants, nearly 17 million are children of which, more than 15 million are U.S.-born citizens.   While most immigrant adults are employed, they are generally paid low-wages and do not have any form of health insurance coverage.  
Several major public programs, such as Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) provide low income families with the much needed economic, health, and nutritional support that they require.   There have been several studies that suggested that these programs can improve health and nutrition (especially in children) and contribute to stability of families, both in their work and lives at home, as well as better outcomes for the children (Yu, Huang, Schwalberg,...