A race and gender analysis is critical to the development of fair and just immigration reform and immigration-related policies. Racism and xenophobia are the backbone of anti-immigrant and anti-AAPI sentiments, including the barriers to thrive that our government has put in place to separate many AAPIs from our families for decades. As policy makers and advocates continue to push for reforms to the U.S. immigration system, few have considered the impact these policies may have on immigrant women. Immigrant women are more likely than U.S. born women to live in poverty, be unemployed and lack health insurance. Immigration policies that unify or reunify families, ensure that immigrant women have access to crucial health services without delay and regardless of their immigration status, and seek justice for survivors of violence, including trafficking and sexual and domestic violence, are crucial for AAPI women and girls to thrive.
Immigrant Access to Healthcare
Access to reliable healthcare for AAPI women and their families too often rely on their job status, income, immigration status, or language. Foreign-born women are almost twice as likely as U.S.-born women to lack health insurance. For noncitizen women who live in poverty, approximately 48 percent are uninsured compared to 16 percent of uninsured U.S.-born women living in poverty.
The current health and immigration systems are failing families living in the U.S. by placing unnecessary and discriminatory restrictions on their ability to access quality healthcare. Many immigrants cannot receive affordable healthcare due to their immigration status. Under current law, lawful permanent residents immigrants must wait five years before accessing Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
The Health Equity and Accountability under the Law (HEAL) for Immigrant Women and Families Act alleviates many of the obstacles preventing immigrant families from accessing affordable healthcare. It ensures access to health coverage for immigrants by:
Restoring Medicaid and CHIP eligibility to lawfully present immigrants, regardless of their date of entry
Reinstating Medicaid eligibility for COFA immigrants
The HEAL Act removes the legal and policy barriers to affordable healthcare that disproportionately harm immigrant women. Restoring access to basic healthcare for immigrant women enables them to make decisions about their bodies, their lives, and their communities with dignity.