Project Category: Health

The United States has seen a rise in political rhetoric and federal policy based on the “welfare magnet” idea that immigrants pose a fiscal challenge to social safety net programs, especially publicly funded health coverage. But is there any evidence of this? IPL studied the state-by-state expansion of Medicaid to include recently arrived immigrants, and the results suggest that immigrants don’t strategically move to other states to claim these benefits.
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With greater recognition that prenatal care is essential for newborns’ health, more states have expanded coverage to include unauthorized immigrant women. While motivated by concern for future U.S. citizen children, these programs have long-term, life-changing benefits for mothers as well.
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Should unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the United States as children be granted permission to live and work in the country? In the heated debate over Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), it is often overlooked that these young adults are also raising children who are U.S. citizens. IPL examined the intergenerational health effects of DACA to find out how these children's lives change when their parents no longer fear being deported.
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As Americans become increasingly anxious about the future of the U.S. health care system, efforts to open services to immigrants have faced fresh opposition. To steer the debate from ideology to evidence, the Lab studied Oregon’s expansion of prenatal care to unauthorized immigrant women. With greater knowledge of the effects on public health, state finances, and individual lives, policymakers around the country can find a way past the political stalemate and design successful reforms.
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