Ensuring access to public health services is one of the most fundamental health equity issues. Since November of 2016, public health staff have expressed increased concerns there may be a chilling effect of accessing services due to proposed immigration policies and feared repercussions. With recent changes to the rules around Public Charge, these concerns have only been exacerbated.
California Health Departments have begun reporting early, anecdotal reports of clients dropping out of or not enrolling in Women and Infants with Children (WIC), CalFresh, and other programs that help ensure adequate health and nutrition.
The fear of deportation, in particular, inhibits critical health supportive behaviors like attending medical appointments or enrolling in public services. It has also been linked to post-traumatic stress syndrome in choldren, low birth weights, and other health conditions.