Right and access to healthcare for undocumented children: addressing the gap between international conventions and disparate implementations in North America and Europe

Soc Sci Med. 2010 Jan;70(2):329-36. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.10.013. Epub 2009 Nov 4.


Limited access to healthcare for vulnerable immigrant children in Europe and North America is increasingly worrisome as immigration policies harden. This paper analyzes the gap between States' obligations under international human rights law and the disparate local implementations in diverse countries. Studies that are both multidisciplinary and incorporate micro and macro level indicators are needed to reveal discrepancies between entitlements and access. It is argued that the lack of available data on the magnitude of the problem and on its individual and public health consequences stems from the conflicting situation faced by health institutions required to simultaneously protect the best interest of each child and allocate limited resources. Collaboration in research is urgently needed to assist policy-makers and institutions make informed decisions.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Europe
  • Health Care Rationing
  • Health Services Accessibility / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data
  • Human Rights / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Humans
  • Internationality / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • North America
  • Social Responsibility