A new study supports the idea of a path to citizenship as immigrants who become citizens may improvetheir health outcomes according to the Journal of Health and Social Behavior. This study aides immigration advocate’s arguments for providing immigrants the opportunity to become citizens.
Early healthcare access improves health later on in life
The study found that immigrants who go through the naturalization process to become citizens within 10 years after they arrive in the U.S. have better health as elders than those who do not become citizens. Furthermore, immigrants who are naturalized at middle or older ages have worse health compared to noncitizens. The reasoning for this is that younger and naturalized citizens have better health than noncitizens since they have had more access to health coverage at an earlier age.
Because of the prevention from an early age, this helped them become healthier at the older age. Older immigrants, on the other hand, had poorer health outcomes because they were subject to obstacles which include paying for expensive private insurance, not having accumulated enough resources for retirement and have to wait out the five-year waiting period in order to access Medicaid.
Immigrant population suffers from high health risks
Latinos are one of the main groups who suffer from these negative health outcomes and this may be because the majority of the immigrant population is Latino. “At least 78 percent of Mexican-American women are either overweight or obese, a fact that contributes to Latino Americans being 1.2 times more likely to be obese than non-Latino whites.”
This puts Latinos at a higher risk for diabetes and stroke and a necessity to access healthcare. There are many other factors that contribute to the poor health effects of immigrants, but by opening up the access to healthcare for everyone, through starting at an earlier age, immigrants will become healthier and not have to worry about a failing physical condition with no way to pay for it.
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