Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 229–238 | Cite as

Undocumented Immigration Status and Diabetes Care Among Mexican Immigrants In Two Immigration “Sanctuary” Areas

  • A. Elizabeth Iten
  • Elizabeth A. Jacobs
  • Maureen Lahiff
  • Alicia FernándezEmail author
Original Paper


The objective of this study is to investigate the relationship between immigration status and the patient experience of health care, diabetes self-management, and clinical outcomes among Mexican immigrants with diabetes receiving health care in two immigration sanctuary cities. We used data from the Immigration, Culture and Health Care study, a cross-sectional survey and medical record study of low-income patients with diabetes recruited from public hospitals and community clinics in the San Francisco Bay Area and Chicago. Undocumented Mexican, documented Mexican immigrants, and US-born Mexican–Americans’ health care experiences, diabetes self-management, and clinical outcomes were compared using multivariate linear and logistic regressions. We found no significant differences in reports of physician communication, or in measures of diabetes management between undocumented and documented immigrants. All three groups had similar clinical outcomes in glycemic, systolic blood pressure, and lipid control. These results indicate that, at least in some settings, undocumented Mexican immigrants with diabetes can achieve similar clinical outcomes and report similar health care experiences as documented immigrants and US-born Mexican–Americans.


Immigrants Diabetes Hispanic/Latino Mexican–American Sanctuary Disparities Undocumented immigrants 



This research was funded by the Russell Sage Foundation, Arnold P. Gold Foundation, UCSF School of Medicine Dean’s Summer Research Fellowship, and the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program Helen Schoeneman Research Fellowship. We acknowledge Dr. Karen Sokal-Gutierrez and Dr. Sylvia Guendelman of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health for their valuable comments. We are grateful for the patients and staff of participating clinics.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Elizabeth Iten
    • 1
  • Elizabeth A. Jacobs
    • 2
  • Maureen Lahiff
    • 3
  • Alicia Fernández
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical ProgramBerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Medicine & Population Health Sciences and Health Innovation ProgramUniversity of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public HealthMadisonUSA
  3. 3.School of Public HealthUniversity of California, BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA
  4. 4.Division of General Internal Medicine, SFGHUniversity of California, San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA

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