Reversing Immigration Law's Adverse Impact on Health

Wendy E. Parmet et al
Date of Publication: 
February, 2021
Source Organization: 

Immigration laws and policies have long served to magnify the social vulnerability of immigrants and members of their communities. These vulnerabilities have worked alongside the punitive, anti-immigration policies that the Trump administration pursued both before and during the pandemic to place immigrants and their communities at disproportionate risk for COVID-19. In addition, anti-immigrant policies during the pandemic helped to distort and undermine the nation’s response to the pandemic. In order to prevent an equally dismal response to the next public health crisis, we need to more fully understand the mechanisms through which immigration laws intersect with the social determinants of health to enhance vulnerability to pandemics. We also cannot simply repeal the Trump administration’s policies. Rather, we need to comprehensively reform immigration laws to end the punitive policies that heighten vulnerability to disease. This paper was prepared as part of the COVID-19 Policy Playbook: Legal Recommendations for a Safer, More Equitable Future, a comprehensive report published by Public Health Law Watch in partnership with the de Beaumont Foundation and the American Public Health Association.


Burris, S., de Guia, S., Gable, L., Levin, D.E., Parmet, W.E., Terry, N.P. (Eds.) (2021). COVID-19 Policy Playbook: Legal Recommendations for a Safer, More Equitable Future. Boston: Public Health Law Watch.