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Why Undocumented Immigrants Are Giving Birth at Home

In one of our recent blogs, we discussed a recent add-on rule to the Trump Administration’s already strict immigration push. Essentially, the new rule curbs legal immigration by denying green card applicants who are more likely to need government assistance, such as food stamps, public housing, and healthcare.

Because the rule was only recently implemented, the many implications of it are still being uncovered. One substantial and potentially life-threatening impact, however, affects pregnant women who are either undocumented or have pending green card status.

A recent article from The New York Times discussed the story of a young pregnant mother and an undocumented immigrant, Britani, who refrained from medical treatment for pregnancy complications. She did not have cash for treatment and was fearful of deportation or having her green card status denied due to the new immigration rule.

The link between immigration status and pregnancy have been thoroughly researched even before Mr. Trump took office. Research from previous years has found that undocumented women are more likely to skip prenatal care and experience complications during pregnancy and childbirth (one factor being major forms of stress).

Prenatal care aims to promote both maternal and fetal health, monitor potential risk factors, and treat complications in order to improve outcomes for both mother and baby. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a lack of prenatal care is associated with a 40% increase in neonatal death; other potential health risks include:

  • Illness to the mother or baby
  • Pre-term labor
  • Low birth weight

While the new policy rule does include exemptions for vulnerable groups, including pregnant women, many are still wary of obtaining public assistance for fear of jeopardizing their lives in the United States. President-elect Joe Biden previously indicated he would reverse the new rule in his first 100 days of office, but many fear that the implications may still linger.

If you need legal assistance through the immigration process, the board-certified attorneys at Maney Gordon Zeller are here to guide you every step of the way. Contact our firm at (800) 708-4399 to put over 40 years of experience in your corner today.

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