HHS/ASPE. U. S. Department of Health and Human Services.Background

Immigrant Access to Health and Human Services

Project Page

September 2011

This project is available on the Internet at:



Immigrant eligibility for health and human service benefits is complicated by a confusing patchwork quilt of federal statutory provisions, state and local benefit program choices and decisions, the mixed citizenship/immigration status of members in many immigrant families (e.g., immigrant parents who may be ineligible, with citizen children who are eligible), and the varying immigration enforcement efforts and initiatives not only at the federal level, but more recently at the state and local levels as well.  Recent enactment of health care reform provisions may further complicate the policy environment and result in additional challenges and opportunities affecting immigrant families’ access to health and human services and the wellbeing of these families.

This project maps and describes the broad policy context that can affect immigrant access to health and human services, and can affect the wellbeing of immigrants and their children, the majority of whom are U.S. citizens.  Through synthesis of existing information, supplemented by in-depth visits to five purposively selected sites, the project:  identifies and describes the eligibility criteria related to immigrant families under major federal and federal/state health and human service programs; identifies and describes major barriers to immigrant families’ access to health and human services, including barriers due to program eligibility provisions, immigration enforcement initiatives, family composition, or other factors; and identifies and describes any innovative or promising practices, program designs, or other strategies and initiatives that appear to facilitate or improve immigrant families’ access to health and human services.


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Last Updated:  05/25/12