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Undocumented Immigrants Fear Repercussions Of Accessing Healthcare

child doctor
Alex Prolmos
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Flickr / Creative Commons
Undocumented people in North Carolina have lived in fear ever since the Department of Homeland Security has expanded the list of crimes for which people could be deported.

President Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric made it clear that he intended to crack down on illegal immigration. Shortly after he took office, memoranda released by the Department of Homeland Security seemed to confirm his intentions. The department boosted hiring for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and expanded the list of crimes for which people could be deported. 

The changes have instilled fear and anxiety among undocumented people in North Carolina, according to community advocates. Many people are afraid of being stopped and arrested while driving, and are unsure of whether mental health records could be used against them in deportation hearings. Because of this, some are even forgoing medical treatment.

Guest host Anita Rao speaks with Alizarina Rojas, a community advocate and Mexican immigrant with current Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival status, Dr. Luke Smith, the Executive Director and Medical Director of behavioral health center El Futuro, and Dr. Evan Ashkin, a family medicine doctor with the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, about the undocumented community’s ongoing fear and the impact it’s having on their health. 

Jennifer Brookland is the American Homefront Project Veterans Reporting Fellow. She covers stories about the military and veterans as well as issues affecting the people and places of North Carolina.
Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist and the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content.