S.S. Canopic lands in Boston, 1920. Photo by Leslie Jones, courtesy of the Boston Public Library.

S.S. Canopic lands in Boston, 1920. Photo by Leslie Jones, courtesy of the Boston Public Library.

Immigration Resources

for Providers and Patients

Longstanding fear of immigration officials in addition to national changes in rhetoric and enforcement priorities have scared documented and undocumented immigrants from health care. This endangers them, their families, children, and our nation as a whole.

Providers wishing to treat patients with immigration concerns may feel at a loss as to where to send patients. Here is a collection of resources that you can refer your patients to, as well as relevant articles on the subject. Most are Massachusetts-based but there are national resources included as well. If you have others you want me to add please contact me.

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Caring for Immigrant patients when the rules can change any time.

It is not simple to practice medicine under new and uncertain circumstances surrounding immigration. Here is my account of clinical practice in an immigrant neighborhood, in the wake of Trump's inauguration.


Making a Case for Sanctuary Hospitals

A mission statement from the authors of this JAMA article to make hospitals a sanctuary for everyone, regardless of immigration status, by advocating inside and outside the hospital.


Gov. Baker, If You Met My Immigrant Patients, You'd Support 'Safe Communities Act'

A plea to the Governor Massachusetts to support the Safe Communities Act, and clarify for the police that their job is to protect us, not persecute parents and battered women.



Illustration by Miguel Montaner

Illustration by Miguel Montaner

Further reading

'why Nearly Half My Patients Who Get Hurt On The Job Don’t Report It'

Dr. Lara Jirmanus writes that "when patients fear reporting unsafe conditions, workplaces remain unsafe for immigrant and American workers alike."

Houston Lesson: Anti-Immigrant Moves Put Public Health At Greater Risk

"In a globalized world, border fences cannot keep out airborne diseases any more than levees can stop a hurricane. Crises will come, and without the faith of those affected, we will not be able to respond effectively."

Grand Rounds on Immigration in Primary Care

Review this presentation for an overview of executive orders, common concerns in clinic, and best practices for providers who want to address immigration issues with their patients.

Webinars for providers

Free webinars for organizations working with immigrants from the Immigrant Learning Center

Illustration by Miguel Montaner

Illustration by Miguel Montaner

Resources for providers

•Handouts for Cambridge Health Alliance Patients. These are in our 9 top languages and is written specifically for CHA but could be adopted for other health systems. I give these to immigrant patients and their family members on our first visit. To access them within CHA, type .immigrationresources and select desired language.

Filling out N648 form to request an exception to the English and civics testing requirements for naturalization because of physical or developmental disability or mental impairment. The form is somewhat difficult and small mistakes will mean a long delay for your patient.

Request "Know Your Patients’ Rights" Training for your clinic to train staff about basic issues surrounding immigration (Massachusetts-based) 

National Immigration Law Center Resource Kit for Healthcare Providers

Community Resources for Cambridge Health Alliance providers From yoga to smoking cessation to housing support.

Illustration by Miguel Montaner

Illustration by Miguel Montaner

Resources for patients

Health Leads can help you find things like healthy food, childcare and healthcare in different neighborhoods. Available in Spanish.

Cambridge Health Alliance Resources: Centralized site of different resources in CHA catchment area.     

Boston Immigrant Advancement: Site with many resources in Massachusetts. They also offer regular pro bono legal clinics. (with handouts available in other languages)

Cambridge Legal Services and CounselingPro bono services and regular immigration clinics. 

MIRA Coalition know your rights resources for patients:

Legal resources in Massachusetts Legal Aid resource finder.

Legal resources (National)National Legal Aid director.

Family Preparedness Plans:   For all parents, and especially those who are undocumented, it is important to have a plan for children in case of emergency and deportation, including a guardian in case children are left without parents due to deportation.

Boston Teachers Union, and BPS educational resources:

•MA Attorney General’s hotline: 1-800-994-3228. Call to report abuse and for clarification on state and federal law

The National Center for Farmworker Health (NCFH) provides information services, training and technical assistance, and a variety of products to community and migrant health centers nationwide.

Migrant Clinicians Network provides case management, support, technical assistance, and professional development to clinicians in Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and other health care delivery sites with the ultimate purpose of providing quality health care that increases access and reduces disparities for migrant farmworkers and other mobile underserved populations. 

Boston ABCD provides basic services and innovative programs that help empower individuals, families, and communities in Boston to overcome poverty, with a special focus on immigrants. Including free immigration services, civics courses, and ESOL at sites all across the city

KIND defense attorneys for minors: KIND staff and pro bono attorney partners at law firms, corporations, and law schools nationwide represent unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children in their deportation proceedings.