Why health providers are emerging as immigration advocates

There is a group of Americans that is currently under threat — waiting on Congress to put aside differences and to take immediate action to ensure they can continue to contribute to making our country great. These Americans are young undocumented immigrants who arrived as children and are seeking a path to citizenship, known as Dreamers.

This week, Dreamers and other advocates are gathering in Washington, D.C. to support including the DREAM Act into federal funding legislation. Many health care provider groups around the country, including the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO), will be joining them.

In the midst of national health conversations, many national health groups have begun to step out as immigration advocates. Provider groups have numerous reasons for supporting Dreamers and the immigrant community overall, including:

Immigration is a social determinant of health.

Immigrants are a key part of the communities health care providers serve, and immigration is complex.

Immigrants are health providers.

Ensuring the health of new Americans has local benefits.

Immigrants give back to the U.S. tax base and deserve access to care.

As the fight continues, providers have a unique and strong voice as immigration advocates. As organizations committed to serving patients and communities, we stand together to support the needs of undocumented and all immigrants and the families and communities that support them. We encourage other advocacy groups to join the fight, whether you work on health issues or not. Together we will ensure a health system that provides for all.

Heather Skrabak is the Associate Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO), a national association of community health organizations dedicated to promoting advocacy, collaboration and leadership that improves the health status and access of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in the United States.

The Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations — dedicated to promoting advocacy, collaboration and leadership to improve AA and NHPI health.

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