The Relationship Between States' Immigrant-Related Policies and Access to Health Care Among Children of Immigrants

J Immigr Minor Health. 2022 Aug;24(4):834-841. doi: 10.1007/s10903-021-01282-9. Epub 2021 Sep 28.


States vary in their participation in federal immigration enforcement, leading to differing state-level policy contexts that profoundly shape the lives of immigrants. This paper examines the effects of sanctuary policies and driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants on immigrants' children's access to preventative healthcare. The 2008-2016 Medical Panel Expenditure Survey merged with state-level policy data were analyzed using a difference-in-difference OLS regression. Outcome variables included whether the child had a usual source of care, any unmet medical needs, or a well child check-up. State driver's license and sanctuary policies were associated with having a usual source of care and fewer unmet medical needs among children of immigrants. The recent pandemic highlights the importance of access to preventative health care. State policies that limit federal immigration enforcement involvement are associated with improved access to preventative health services among immigrants' children, most of whom are U.S. citizens.

Keywords: And children; Health care; Immigrants; Preventative health; State policy.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Emigrants and Immigrants*
  • Emigration and Immigration
  • Health Policy
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Undocumented Immigrants*
  • United States