Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 947–970 | Cite as

Evaluating the Impact of Immigration Policies on Health Status Among Undocumented Immigrants: A Systematic Review

  • Omar MartinezEmail author
  • Elwin Wu
  • Theo Sandfort
  • Brian Dodge
  • Alex Carballo-Dieguez
  • Rogeiro Pinto
  • Scott Rhodes
  • Eva Moya
  • Silvia Chavez-Baray
Original Paper


Over the past two decades, new anti-immigration policies and laws have emerged to address the migration of undocumented immigrants. A systematic review of the literature was conducted to assess and understand how these immigration policies and laws may affect both access to health services and health outcomes among undocumented immigrants. Eight databases were used to conduct this review, which returned 325 papers that were assessed for validity based on specified inclusion criteria. Forty critically appraised articles were selected for analysis; thirty articles related to access to health services, and ten related to health outcomes. The articles showed a direct relationship between anti-immigration policies and their effects on access to health services. In addition, as a result of these policies, undocumented immigrants were impacted by mental health outcomes, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Action items were presented, including the promotion of cultural diversity training and the development of innovative strategies to support safety-net health care facilities serving vulnerable populations.


Access to health services Health outcomes Health status Anti-immigration policies and laws Undocumented immigrants 



Mr. Martinez is supported by a NIMH training grant (T32-MH19139 Behavioral Sciences Research in HIV Infection; Principal Investigator: Theo Sandfort, Ph.D.) at the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies (P30-MH43520; Center Director: Robert H. Remien, Ph.D.).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Omar Martinez
    • 1
    Email author
  • Elwin Wu
    • 2
  • Theo Sandfort
    • 1
  • Brian Dodge
    • 3
  • Alex Carballo-Dieguez
    • 1
  • Rogeiro Pinto
    • 2
  • Scott Rhodes
    • 4
  • Eva Moya
    • 5
  • Silvia Chavez-Baray
    • 5
  1. 1.HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral StudiesNew York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.School of Social WorkColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Indiana University School of Public HealthIndianapolisUSA
  4. 4.Wake Forest University Medical CenterWinston-SalemUSA
  5. 5.University of Texas-El PasoEl PasoUSA

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