Immigrant health: Legal tools/legal barriers

Mee Moua, Fernando A. Guerra, Jill D. Moore, Ronald O. Valdiserri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The United States is a country of immigrants, our government having been formed by recent arrivals. This trend has continued throughout our history; according to the Center for Immigration Studies, more than 26 million immigrants have settled in the United States since 1970, and approximately one million new immigrants come to the United States each year. The immigrant population faces highly diverse health issues that states, cities, and counties must address, many of which pose significant legal and policy issues. Social, cultural, and linguistic factors complicate those challenges, as does the overlay of federal immigration and health policy. Two federal laws, the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 and Title VI of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, have affected immigrants in two very different ways. The former made it difficult for immigrants to qualify for publicly funded benefits. In contrast, Title VI made it easier for immigrants to obtain benefits by requiring federally funded service providers to offer translating services to persons with limited English language skills. Tuberculosis treatment is perhaps the most pressing health need among recent arrivals to the United States. Methods to slow down and hopefully eliminate this disease are underway, but a more comprehensive approach to not only tuberculosis but to immigrant health in general is needed. Indeed, it will benefit those directly affected by tuberculosis and will have serious implications for the entire population for generations to come.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-196
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Law, Medicine and Ethics
Issue number3 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Sep 1 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health Policy


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