Honors College Thesis


Immigration Policy as a Driver of Health Disparities in Muslim Refugees Public Deposited

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  • Following the inauguration of President Donald Trump, there have been significant impacts on the U.S. immigration system and, in turn, on the health of migrants. There is little research examining the relationship between immigration policy and health, especially regarding Muslim refugees, although they are a large and vulnerable population. The purpose of this project is to critically analyze how anti-immigration policies under the Trump administration impact the health status of Muslim refugees. Through literature review and applying a modified Multiple Streams (MS) model of policy process framework by Omar Martinez et al. (2013), the creation and implementation of anti-immigration policies and their effects on Muslim refugees’ access to health services and health outcomes will be examined. Analysis revealed that anti-immigration policies under the Trump administration took form in admission and resettlement reforms and were rooted in Orientalism, Islamophobia, and xenophobia. Four barriers as a direct result of these policies were identified, prior to resettlement 1) Muslim refugees are forced to stay in places with little to no access to health services. Once resettled, 2) they have trouble navigating health services, 3) they face discriminatory or culturally incompetent care when receiving health services, and 4) climates of fear and mistrust are deterrents in utilizing health services. In addition, as a result of these policies and climates of xenophobia and Islamophobia, Muslim refugees are burdened by communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases, poor women’s health, and mental health issues. Overall, this project seeks to examine the intersection and impacts between immigration policy and Muslim refugee health in the hopes of suggesting areas to improve the overall wellbeing of Muslim refugees. Key Words: refugees, Muslim, health, access to health services, health outcomes, anti-immigration policies and laws, Orientalism, Islamophobia, xenophobia
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