Research shows that health care use among Latino immigrants is adversely affected by restrictive immigration policy. A core concern is that immigrants shy away from sharing personal information in response to policies that expand bureaucratic monitoring of citizenship status across service-providing organizations. This investigation addresses the concern that immigration politics also negatively influences health care utilization among Latino US citizens. One implication is that health insurance expansions may not reduce health care inequities among Latinos due to concern about exposure to immigration law enforcement authorities. Using data from the 2015 Latino National Health and Immigration Survey, we examine the extent to which the politics of immigration deters individuals from going to health care providers and service-providing institutions. Results indicate that Latino US citizens are less likely to make an appointment to see a health care provider when the issue of immigration is mentioned. Additionally, Latino US citizens who know someone who has been deported are more inclined to perceive that information shared with health care providers is not secure. We discuss how cautious citizenship, or risk-avoidance behaviors toward public institutions in order to avoid scrutiny of citizenship status, informs debates about reducing health care inequities.

Freely available online through the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law open access option.
You do not currently have access to this content.