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Am J Public Health. 2019 Sep;109(9):1171-1176. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2019.305171. Epub 2019 Jul 18.

Included, but Deportable: A New Public Health Approach to Policies That Criminalize and Integrate Immigrants.

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Maria-Elena De Trinidad Young is with the Department of Public Health, School of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts, University of California, Merced. Steven P. Wallace is with the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, Fielding School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles.


There has been a burst of research on immigrant health in the United States and an increasing attention to the broad range of state and local policies that are social determinants of immigrant health. Many of these policies criminalize immigrants by regulating the "legality" of their day-to-day lives while others function to integrate immigrants through expanded rights and eligibility for health care, social services, and other resources.Research on the health impact of policies has primarily focused on the extremes of either criminalization or integration. Most immigrants in the United States, however, live in states that possess a combination of both criminalizing and integrating policies, resulting in distinct contexts that may influence their well-being.We present data describing the variations in criminalization and integration policies across states and provide a framework that identifies distinct but concurrent mechanisms of deportability and inclusion that can influence health. Future public health research and practice should address the ongoing dynamics created by both criminalization and integration policies as these likely exacerbate health inequities by citizenship status, race/ethnicity, and other social hierarchies.

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