New Report Illuminates Health Struggles of Undocumented Boys & Men of Color

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA – Undocumented boys and men of color live in fear every day, with discrimination and worries about deportation often dominating their interactions with the health care system, a new report from The Greenlining Institute finds. The report, Ensuring Health and Justice for Undocumented Boys and Men of Color, based on in-depth interviews with undocumented youth and young adults across California, goes beyond statistics to explore and illuminate the lives of young men who often serve as pillars of their families while enduring daily struggles.

Journalists can preview the report at the link above.

Greenlining’s report focuses on the real-world experiences of young men like “Michael” (for their protection, all interviewees are given pseudonyms), a 20-year-old struggling to balance the responsibilities of work, school and caring for his little brother — and who has literally had to choose between medicine for his sick brother and paying the rent. “I don’t expect you to know what it feels like to lie to your brother that he’s going to go to the doctor when I know that I can’t afford to take him,” Michael said. “I do expect you to help us because we’re still humans.”

“Hundreds of thousands of undocumented boys and men of color live in California, but policymakers know way too little about their lives and circumstances,” said lead author Erika Cabato, Greenlining Institute Health Equity Fellow. “These are our neighbors, classmates and coworkers, and we need to understand their struggles and make sure they have the opportunities and resources to succeed.”

In addition to documenting the human stories of these young immigrants, the report makes concrete recommendations to officials, including expansion of access to Medi-Cal and Covered California, shifting resources away from incarceration and deportation and towards education, and adoption of a racial equity framework that recognizes and helps combat the harmful effects of racism and discrimination on communities of color.

Interview availability: Two of the undocumented Californians quoted in the report are available for media interviews, so long as their anonymity is maintained: Michael, quoted above, from the Central Valley, and Grace, a University of California student in the Bay Area (originally from L.A. County) enduring a separation from her father, who had to return to Mexico to obtain treatment for a life-threatening heart condition. To arrange an interview, contact Bruce Mirken at 510-926-4022 (office), 415-846-7758 (cell)


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