Evaluating the impact of immigration policies on health status among undocumented immigrants: a systematic review

J Immigr Minor Health. 2015 Jun;17(3):947-70. doi: 10.1007/s10903-013-9968-4.


Over the past two decades, new anti-immigration policies and laws have emerged to address the migration of undocumented immigrants. A systematic review of the literature was conducted to assess and understand how these immigration policies and laws may affect both access to health services and health outcomes among undocumented immigrants. Eight databases were used to conduct this review, which returned 325 papers that were assessed for validity based on specified inclusion criteria. Forty critically appraised articles were selected for analysis; thirty articles related to access to health services, and ten related to health outcomes. The articles showed a direct relationship between anti-immigration policies and their effects on access to health services. In addition, as a result of these policies, undocumented immigrants were impacted by mental health outcomes, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Action items were presented, including the promotion of cultural diversity training and the development of innovative strategies to support safety-net health care facilities serving vulnerable populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Services Accessibility / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Public Policy*
  • Undocumented Immigrants*