You’ve seen the slogan: Immigrant rights are human rights. It’s concise. It’s catchy. It affirms what we believe.
But when we talk about human rights—and more specifically, access to health care—what does equity actually look like for immigrants and their families? Access to health care is not just a matter of having a clinic nearby. It’s about having the opportunity to seek culturally competent medical care. It’s about having the ability to receive that care without fear of discrimination or deportation. It’s about having the insurance coverage that makes a clinic visit possible in the first place.
Yesterday, the Seattle City Council signed a proclamation recognizing this reality and acknowledging existing barriers to health care for Seattle’s immigrant community. Legal Voice’s If/When/How Reproductive Justice Fellow Priya Walia was proud to receive the proclamation on behalf of Surge Reproductive Justice, alongside her colleague Uma Rao.
In introducing the proclamation, Councilmember Lorena González recognized that those in the immigrant community who live at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities—such as people with chronic illnesses and disabilities, queer and transgender people, and people who can become pregnant—are far less likely to receive the health care they need. They are also the most affected by restricted funding, as services for this community are often the first cut in health care funding.
This proclamation came just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to let the Trump Administration enforce pieces of its discriminatory immigration ban. This means that thousands of immigrants and refugees are now subject to a policy built on discrimination, prejudice, and fear.
We applaud the Seattle City Council for taking steps to ensure new Americans are not just welcome in Seattle, but that they are supported in their quest to build healthy lives and communities once they get here.