Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Migrant Health Clinics Caught In Crossfire Of Immigration Debate

THE CHILDREN OF MIGRANT WORKERS PLAY MARBLES W...

THE CHILDREN OF MIGRANT WORKERS PLAY MARBLES WHILE THEIR PARENTS WORK IN FIELDS – NARA – 543855 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From a 6 June 2012 article at Kaiser Health

..clinics [which are] part of a 50-year-old federally funded program to treat migrant and seasonal farmworkers, have become the latest flash points in the national immigration debate. Health center officials across the country describe how local, state and national law enforcement authorities have staked out migrant clinics, detained staff members transporting patients to medical appointments and set up roadblocks near their facilities and health fairs as part of immigration crackdowns…

“We are looking at a growing climate of fear where folks really think long and hard about accessing basic services,” says Milton Butterworth, who oversees outreach migrant health services for Blue Ridge Community Health Services in Hendersonville, N.C.

Even many legal workers do not seek care at the health centers because they are fearful of exposing family members who are not legal residents, says Tara Plese, a spokeswoman for the Arizona Association of Community Health Centers. “There is a big fear factor and it’s a big concern from a public health perspective.”

Those concerns include making sure farmworkers’ children are vaccinated, stopping the spread of infectious diseases like AIDS and treating those with chronic problems such as diabetes, officials say. Many farmworkers avoid seeking care except in emergencies.

Federal Aid Opposed

Supporters of the nation’s 156 migrant clinics, which are typically part of community health centers, say caring for all farmworkers helps protect them as well as the public — and is a humane way to treat three million people toiling at the heart of the nation’s food supply. About half of those are illegal immigrants, according to the latest federal survey of agricultural workers conducted in 2009.

“Migrant health centers continue to help ensure the safety of the nation’s food supply by keeping those who harvest it healthy,” …

June 7, 2012 - Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: