Guides and Resources

Interested in implementing some of these policies and actions at your healthcare institution? This is a compilation of additional resources that may be helpful to you.

Public Health Awakened is a network of public health professionals organizing for health, equity and justice. They compiled a guide and slide deck, available also in Spanish and Arabic, that explores some ideas and actions for local health agencies who are looking to support undocumented residents and their families.


The California Primary Care Association (CPCA) has developed six sample policies and procedures to help health centers put practices in place that prepare staff and patients for handling an unlikely encounter with immigration enforcement.


In an effort to help frontline staff, enrollers, community health workers/ Promotoras, service providers, county staff and others respond to concerns presented by immigrant communities, the Protecting Access to Public Benefits Workgroup, led by CPCA, has also created Public Charge Training Modules for Advocates & Service Providers.

  • This is a package of train-the-trainer style presentations to help service providers and CBOs discuss public charge with patients and the community.
  • Each module includes a script to help guide presenters.
  • All together the modules comprise a full-day workshop, but organizations are encouraged to build a unique agenda that best suits their audience from the menu of modules. Community training materials and translations of the modules are now being developed.


The California Attorney General’s office released model policies to assist California’s healthcare facilities in responding to immigration issues. This guide includes three model policies around gathering and handling patient and family health information, sharing patient and family health information, and responding to requests for physical access to healthcare facilities for immigration enforcement purposes. This guide also provides comprehensive overview and details about the legal context of these policies.


The San Francisco Department of Public Health also developed a policy on interactions with immigration and customs enforcement agents.


The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California has put together a pamphlet, “Protecting Immigrant Community Members Accessing Health Care,” on planning signage and physical barriers to enhance patients’ rights and privacy as well as protocols for staff to respond to immigration agents’ requests for information and presence in a healthcare facility.


The National Immigration Law Center has put together a “Know Your Rights, Know Your Patients’ Rights” guide for providers and patients.


Physicians for Human Rights has a “Sanctuary Hospital” Fact Sheet with some tips on what can be done, including to whom to report suspected violations by ICE or CBP. This accompanies a larger report, “Not in my Exam Room,” on how U.S. immigration enforcement is obstructing medical care.


The Massachusetts Attorney General’s office offers a guide offering detention and deportation preparedness, such as care and custody options like caregiver authorization and guardianship of a minor. The guide offers a comparison of how these options differ and a checklist of documents that parents may want to ensure they have in a safe place and available to the child and his or her caregiver as needed (e.g. passports, medical records, contact information).


Make the Road New York has a deportation defense manual, in addition to a public charge screening tool and Know Your Rights information.


The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant Refugee Rights offer Know Your Rights wallet cards that can be printed and placed in waiting rooms or clinic rooms. On their website, you can also find other state or local resources such as hotlines, legal resources, mental health resources or more.


The Los Angeles County Office of Immigrant Affairs also offers Know Your Rights wallet cards to print out.


The Immigrant Health Task Force sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Department of Human Services has put together a report with recommendations about immigrant health more broadly. The report describes 8 action steps to improve immigrant health in Minnesota but can be applicable to other contexts.

We Have Rights is a national immigrant empowerment video series created by the ACLU and the Brooklyn Defender Services to provide real life action points for what to do when individuals interface with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).


Brave New Films Video “Immigrant Stories: Doctors and Nurses” exposes how immigration policies are forcing people to choose between medical care or deportation.  


“The Right To Thrive: Immigrant Voices in Healthcare” is a three-part series of short documentaries highlighting the stories of California immigrants in their journey to access healthcare.  

Assessment of Perspectives on Health Care System Efforts to Mitigate Perceived Risks Among Immigrants in the United States: A Qualitative Study 

Anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric can have serious negative healthcare consequences for immigrants and their families. To address this, healthcare facilities have instituted policies and actions to ensure their immigrant patients feel welcome and protected while receiving care. We conducted 38 interviews at 25 health care facilities across 5 states with the largest undocumented immigrant populations to characterize the range, scope and content of policies these facilities have implemented since the 2016 U.S. presidential election. We found policies and actions mitigating: (1) exposure to immigration enforcement personnel, (2) disclosure of immigration status–related information, (3) risk associated with patient-level stressors, (4) risk associated with practitioner-level stressors, and (5) coordination of risk mitigation efforts. Understanding how health care facilities can mitigate immigration-related risks is an important step toward improving healthcare for immigrants and their families.

Making a Case for Sanctuary Hospitals

In July 2017, Jose de Jesus Martinez, an undocumented immigrant, wept at the bedside of his 16-year-old son Brandon, who was comatose in the intensive care unit of a San Antonio, Texas, hospital after being found in a parked unventilated trailer. Several agents from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) entered Brandon’s hospital room and aggressively began questioning Jose.


Hospitals as places of sanctuary

Migration has become one of the greatest challenges of the early 21st century. The British and American governments have intensified efforts to find and deport people believed to be in the country without authorisation. Health professionals find themselves in an ethical dilemma between their duty to provide care to patients and their governments’ political agendas. But though both countries pursue the same objective, they are doing so in different ways, each with implications for health professionals.


Health Care for Undocumented Immigrants

Currently, 800,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients—including many health professionals, students, and patients—face risk of detention and deportation. Loss of DACA status could relegate many of these young people to a life marked by fear and uncertainty. This issue considers the nature and scope of clinicians’ obligations to support and care for undocumented immigrants, refugees, and asylees.


Adults in Immigrant Families Report Avoiding Routine Activities Because of Immigration Concerns

Changes in federal immigration policies and heightened immigration enforcement over the last several years have caused fear and insecurity for many immigrant families across the country. In addition to stories of rising fear among families reported in the press, several studies have documented evidence of widespread anxiety and instability among immigrant families and children.


Living in an Immigrant Family in America: How Fear and Toxic Stress are Affecting Daily Life, Well-Being, & Health

Immigration policy has been and continues to be a controversial topic in the U.S. Over the course of the election and since taking office, President Trump has intensified national debate about immigration as he has implemented policies to enhance immigration enforcement and restrict the entry of immigrants from selected countries the Administration believes may pose a threat to the country.


Health Coverage and Care of Undocumented Immigrants

Recently, many of the Democratic presidential candidates indicated support for expanding health coverage to undocumented immigrants. To help inform the implications of such an expansion, this brief provides an overview of current health coverage and care for undocumented immigrants.