Fearing deportation, immigrants forgo medical care

The Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration is discouraging fearful immigrants from seeking out medical care, say hospitals and clinics serving these communities around the country.

These providers are reporting a noticeable drop in patient visits since President Donald Trump took office in January and immediately issued broad directives to ramp up immigration enforcement. Boosted federal deportation efforts have immigrants afraid to visit the doctor for even necessary medical treatment, providers say.

Cancellations at El Buen Samaritano, a low-cost clinic in Austin, Texas, jumped by 50 percent following a series of Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids in the city in February, said CEO Iliana Gilman. The uptick in no-shows at the clinic, which predominately serves low-income Latino patients, has been “unprecedented,” Gilman said.

Immigrants are even refusing to answer phone calls from Cape Fear Clinic, a free clinic in Wilmington, N.C., located just blocks from a local ICE office.

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