We “can and should do more” for immigrant women.

Last Thursday, President Obama announced an executive order that will protect approximately 4 million United States immigrants from deportation. The executive action will also grant those protected- those who have lived in the country for 5 years or more or who are parents to American citizens- temporary visas, which will allow them to legally work in the country.

What does this mean for reproductive health of immigrant women in the U.S.? Well, it increases the likelihood that immigrants will receive insurance benefits, if they have an employer who provides health insurance to employees. Hopefully, it will mean that many more immigrant women have access to affordable contraception, gynecological care, and maternal care.

However, I don’t think this executive order does enough to protect immigrant women’s sexual and reproductive health. The 4 million immigrants that are protected will still not be eligible for Obamacare. Although able to legally work, many of them will have low-wage jobs that do not offer insurance benefits. Although this order will improve the lives of the immigrants it protects, it does not fully address their right to healthcare. As the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice commented, Obama “can and should do more” to protect immigrants as he seeks to expand universal healthcare.

Since my view on this issue is pretty clear, I was wondering what you all think. Do you think universal healthcare should apply to immigrant women? Why is it important (or not) to provide healthcare to immigrant women?


A Washington Post Article with some general information about Obama’s executive action (including a short video of his speech): http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/11/19/your-complete-guide-to-obamas-immigration-order/

Center for Reproductive Right’s reaction to the decision: http://reproductiverights.org/en/press-room/administrative-action-on-immigration-provides-relief-to-millions&s_src=E15SOC111419F&s_subsrc=datasync&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=E15SOC111419F

A Politico “blurb” about the decision: http://www.politico.com/politicopulse/1114/politicopulse16205.html

2 thoughts on “We “can and should do more” for immigrant women.

  1. I believe that this order is a huge step in the right direction in terms of treating immigrants in the US as people with fundamental human rights. However, I realize that much more needs to be done in order to grant them access to “universal” health care, which by its nature should apply to any and all people who live in the US. This should apply regardless of immigration status, economic status, as well as many other factors. In terms of reproductive health, this is a problem because it affects pregnant women as well as their babies. In a class I took last semester, we talked about how an individual’s health is largely determined by her mother’s health during and even before pregnancy. Thus, if we want to better the health status of Americans, immigrant or otherwise, it is important to start granting health care to all. I think it’s very important to continue communication about such matters, as the general public may not know much about this issue. Personally, when I heard about this order I thought it was already assumed and in place in our society. Hearing so much about Obamacare, I assumed it would be available to immigrants because they too are taking part in the American health care system. For this reason, I now realize how laborious and time consuming public policy often is.

  2. Thanks for you response, Hannah! I completely agree that universal healthcare should apply to everyone, regardless of documentation status. Although some immigrants may be undocumented, their health influences us as a nation, and more importantly, their lives matter!
    I saw this article this morning that brings up a point I hadn’t even considered: this order does not protect pregnant women from deportation. The order includes a deadline stating that in order to gain protection, the woman must give birth by November 21. Thus, many mothers will be excluded from this order. The article included this quote, which I think sums up the order pretty well: “If the administration had not set this deadline, conceivably it would have given undocumented immigrants a reason for having children in order to qualify for deportation deferrals. In any case, the deadline shows the practical human consequences of a policy that helps some illegal immigrants, but not all.”. Here’s a link to the article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/11/21/wonkbook-if-youre-pregnant-and-undocumented-obamas-order-doesnt-help-you/

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