UCR Postdoctoral Fellow: Anti-Immigrant Stigma Widens Health Disparities

Brittany Morey, a UC Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow with the School of Public Policy

Immigration is one of the most prominent hot-button issues up for debate on the American political stage. But according to a UCR researcher, decisions made regarding immigration policy also have far-reaching effects on health and could likely contribute to widening health disparities, particularly among racial, ethnic, and religious minorities.

In an article published last week in the American Journal of Public Health, Brittany Morey, a UC Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow with UCR’s School of Public Policy, named three key ways through which anti-immigrant stigma harms health: multilevel discrimination and stress, deportation and detention, and policies that limit health resources.

“Immigrants experience stigma because they are constantly being labeled ‘foreigners’ or ‘outsiders’ and stereotyped as undocumented or criminals,” Morey explained. Moreover, she added, “anti-immigrant stigma has spillover effects on broader populations of people of color. This is because undocumented and citizenship statuses cannot be determined by visually assessing a person; these statuses are concealable.”

As a result, Morey wrote, anyone who is visibly part of a racial, ethnic, or religious minority could be subject to anti-immigrant stigma and thus suffer from its health-related consequences. Some of the most serious of those consequences include discriminatory harassment and violence, heightened stress levels, and the threat of placement in poorly maintained detention facilities or deportation back to places rife with crime and poverty.  

In addition, policies that limit access to health resources — including health care and insurance, jobs, education, wealth, social capital, and social services — have adverse effects on health for all immigrants, including legal immigrants who typically face resource restrictions like a five-year waiting period before being eligible to receive federal benefits.

Although Morey acknowledged that more conclusive research should be conducted to assess the outcomes of anti-immigrant stigma and policies on health, she also emphasized the importance of a public health response to such policies, writing: “Public health has a moral duty to protect the health of all by breaking down the walls formed by an anti-immigrant political environment.”

Tess Eyrich

Distinguished Professor of Psychology to Give Book Talk

David Rosenbaum, distinguished professor of psychology.

David Rosenbaum, a distinguished professor of psychology at UCR, will give a talk on campus on his book “Knowing Hands: The Cognitive Psychology of Manual Control” (Cambridge University Press, 2017) at 4 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 28, in Room 114, College Building South.  A reception will follow the book talk.

Rosenbaum is a cognitive psychologist whose main interests are human perception and performance. His research attempts to understand how we plan and control our physical actions, and how we form ideas that let us act – even for simple acts, such as speaking, reaching for objects, and walking.

Knowing Hands explains the planning and control of manual actions in everyday life. The first on the cognitive psychology of manual control, it uncovers the hidden knowledge that hands express. The book includes the role of the will in manual control, illusions concerning hand position sense, and the coordination of manual actions with others.

The free event, hosted by the UCR Center for Ideas and Society, will end at approximately 5:30 p.m.  For more information, please call (951) 827-1556 or email cis@ucr.edu.

Iqbal Pittalwala

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