Updated June 8, 2017
The 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States live in all 50 states and rely on local safety-nets and state-level provisions for health care. Launched in 2011, The Hastings Center’s Undocumented Patients project has focused on understanding ethical and policy challenges in providing health care access for this low-income population, which is excluded from key federal benefits and faces uncertain prospects.
The Undocumented Patients website is a hub for issue briefs, policy solutions, and a searchable database of research tools on this issue. The following web-based tools have been selected by project staff to help professionals who work in safety-net hospitals, clinics, and health programs learn about the demographics of the undocumented population in a state or county. These tools also provide up-to-date information on insurance, legal rights, and legal services relevant to the care of undocumented immigrants and mixed-status families. Information and links are current as of June 8, 2017.
For the basics about the undocumented population and migration trends in your state
- Annual reports and interactive maps provide reliable estimates based on U.S. Census Bureau data
- State level data sets available in report, table, and map formats
- City level maps and tables available for major metropolitan areas
For demographic detail relevant to health care access in your state
- Interactive map with state-level profiles includes countries/regions of origin, insurance access, and language proficiency, with additional detail for more than 100 US counties (scroll down below map for county profiles)
- Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration is a helpful quick reference
For information about state-level health insurance coverage
- Annual reports on Medicaid and CHIP Eligibility, Enrollment, Renewal, and Cost Sharing Policies include state-level information on eligibility for undocumented immigrants
- Table 3 of 2017 report lists states offering CHIP coverage to income-eligible undocumented children using state funds
- Table 4 of 2017 Kaiser report and 2014 Undocumented Patients Project/Hastings Center issue brief provide state-level detail on coverage for prenatal services
- 2016 Undocumented Patients Project/Hastings Center issue brief provides additional state-level detail on Medicaid access for some undocumented immigrants
For information about legal rights relevant to health care access
- “Know Your Rights, Know Your Patients’ Rights” resource offers detailed information and recommendations for health care providers on organizational processes to safeguard patients’ rights and in interactions with immigration enforcement.
- “Know Your Rights” resource on health insurance and health care offers detailed information, in English and Spanish, on the health-related and Constitutional rights of undocumented immigrants.
- Child Immigrant Health Toolkit offers guidance on ethical, legal, and social issues relevant to health care for immigrant children and families, and on medical screening and treatment recommendations for newly arrived immigrant children.
For information about hospital-based legal services for low-income patients
- Interactive map lists participating institutions in 41 states
- Search tools locate services by health care institution or legal institution as well as city or state
- Resources include a guide for legal services in farmworker health programs
Rachel Zacharias is a research assistant and project manager at The Hastings Center.