Immigration Enforcement and Patients’ Rights in Healthcare Facilities: Should Hospitals Serve as Sanctuaries?

Immigration Enforcement and Patients’ Rights in Healthcare Facilities: Should Hospitals Serve as Sanctuaries?

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Abstract

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has issued a Critical Infrastructure Outreach Program that enables immigration enforcement actions on collaborative health care facilities or “sensitive locations” such as hospitals, doctors’ offices, clinics, and urgent care facilities to gain information about immigrant clients. Given these enforcements, U.S. hospitals are developing protocols for dealing with federal immigration enforcement to ensure a safe place for immigrants seeking health care. The American Medical Association (AMA) opposes the presence of ICE agents in hospitals and clinics and recommends that health care facilities develop “sanctuary hospital” policies to protect immigrant patients’ private information and to maintain community trust. Hospitals without clear policies on this issue have enabled ICE agents to deport immigrant patients and their families; however, proactive hospitals such ...

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