Do you have a fear of going to the doctor? For some people that fear is actually not of going to doctor, but of being deported because they went. According to Dr. Evan Ashkin, Professor of Family Medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, the crackdown on undocumented immigrants is limiting their health options. Dr. Ashkin talks about specially funded safety net clinics, designed to treat patients without any or adequate insurance with dignity and respect, and how fear within the undocumented community still prevents most patients from venturing out to take advantage of them.

Dr. Elisabeth Poorman, a doctor at Cambridge Health Alliance in Everett, MA, treats many immigrants in her work and says that is is hard to build trust with undocumented immigrants because many of them come from countries where health professionals are a part of the government. Dr. Poorman’s patients are also afraid to apply for insurance because of the immigration check included. This usually leads to people going without medical exams and prompt treatment, which then leads to bigger and more expensive issues. Both doctors say they have multiple stories about people risking their lives and even dying because of the fear of deportation.

With the federal government’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants, many of them are skipping going to the doctor or the emergency room for fear of deportation.


  • Dr. Evan Ashkin, Professor of Family Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Dr. Elisabeth Poorman, primary care physician, Cambridge Health Alliance, Everett, MA

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