Encyclopedia of Immigrant Health

2012 Edition
| Editors: Sana Loue, Martha Sajatovic


  • Johanna Hanefeld
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-5659-0_38

The term amnesty has two defined meanings in the English language: “the official act of forgiving people who have committed offences against the state and allowing them to go free” and “a period of time during which people can admit to doing something wrong without fear or punishment.” In the context of immigration, amnesty has been of great relevance in recent years in two ways.

First, immigrants who are undocumented often lack access to adequate health care. This may be the case where the State wishes to withhold certain benefits such as free health care to undocumented immigrants. Legislation and entitlement for undocumented immigrants varies across and often even within countries; undocumented immigrants may fear that efforts to obtain health services will draw attention to their immigration status. Additionally, many immigrants, including those with documentation, face non-statutory barriers to health care, such as culture and language.

It is difficult to quantify the extent to...

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Suggested Readings

  1. DuBard, C. A., & Massing, M. W. (2007). Trends in emergency Medicaid expenditures for recent and undocumented immigrants. Journal of the American Medical Association, 297, 1085–1092 [Erratum, JAMA 2007;297:1774].PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Goldman, D. P., Smith, J. P., & Sood, N. (2005). Legal status and health insurance among immigrants. Health Affairs, 24(6), 1640–1653.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Kandula, N. R., Kersey, M., & Lurie, N. (2004). Assuring the health of immigrants: What the leading health indicators tell us. Annual Review of Public Health, 25, 357–376.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Mohanty, S. A., Woolhandler, S., Himmelstein, D. U., Pati, S., Carrasquillo, O., & Bor, D. H. (2005). Health care expenditures of immigrants in the United States: A nationally representative analysis. American Journal of Public Health, 95, 1431–1438.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Okie, S. (2007). Immigrants and health care – at the intersection of two broken systems. The New England Journal of Medicine, 357(6), 525–529.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Pitkin Derose, K., Bahney, B. W., Lurie, N., & Escarce, J. J. (2009). Review: Immigrants and health care access, quality, and cost. Medical Care Research and Review, 66(4), 355–408.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johanna Hanefeld
    • 1
  1. 1.Health Policy UnitLondon School of Hygiene and Tropical MedicineLondonUK