EthnoMed Statement on Supporting the Care of Refugees

EthnoMed is a program within Harborview Medical Center which is owned by the people of King County, Washington and operated by the University of Washington. As State funded entities we are careful to remain distant from, and neutral on legislative action and political endorsements. However, one in five people in the City of Seattle are born abroad and are immigrants, and 15% of the people housed on the medical and surgical services at Harborview at any given time require interpreter services.

This website exists solely to support the care of immigrants and refugees, especially those routinely encountered at Harborview Medical Center. Consequently, we must be clear about policy at any level that threatens the health and well being of children, families and our patients. The vilification of immigrants, and particularly Muslim refugees and Asian American immigrants, has been accompanied by random spontaneous acts of aggression. Delays in diagnoses, missed appointments and delays in care, failed communication, exacerbation of anxiety, depression, PTSD, and diabetes all result from heightened fear about moving with caution through public spaces in an atmosphere of tension and anxiety.

EthnoMed will identify and report on public policies harming immigrant communities, and provide advocacy for immigrants and refugees, including programmatic services that support refugee families. This is in keeping with our mission to improve the health of refugees and immigrants and our values of patient centered public health and medicine. 

U.S. Immigration Policy & Immigrants

2021 Updates

Our Highlighted 2021 Immigration Policy Changes page includes updates on new rules, regulations, legal challenges, and changes in policy under the Biden-Harris administration. 

Note: The pages referenced in the sections below are currently being updated.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Care for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Community includes resources for health and social service providers around health and safety issues for DACA community and the public health consequences of rescinding.  

Anti-Immigrant Sentiment

Our Anti-Immigrant Sentiment page includes resources for providers to help address anti-immigrant behaviors and related fear/stress their patients may be experiencing.   

Migrant Children & Health

Our Migrant Children and Health page provides information, resources and fact sheets about the health issues of migrant children entering the U.S. There have been claims and concerns over health risks from migrant children crossing borders. Misinformation about the health of migrant children when there is no significant health threat is a medical issue.   This page provides background information, resources and fact sheets about the issue of migrant health.

Disability Exceptions for Citizenship (N-648)

We have compiled a Disability Exceptions for Citizenship (N-648) page with information and resources for medical providers completing the N-648 Form, including glossaries of terms used.

Information on Public Charge

Information on Public Charge includes important information from Washington State on changes to immigration rules on public benefit. Also includes local and national resources, including updated materials (March 2021) from the Protecting Immigrant Families campaign.

Immigration Enforcement

Health Care Providers and Immigration Enforcement: Know Your and Your Patients' Rights
The threat of increased federal immigration enforcement has raised concerns among immigrant families, some of whom may decide to forego necessary medical services out of fear that they could be putting themselves and their family members at risk. This fact sheet from the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) provides advice to hospitals, medical centers, community health centers, other health care facilities, and advocates on how to prepare for and respond to (a) enforcement actions by immigration officials and (b) interactions with law enforcement that could result in immigration consequences for their patients.

Related Content

Forensic Evaluation of Asylum Seekers - Society of Refugee Healthcare Providers
The Society for Refugee Healthcare Providers presented an asylum training course that provided an introduction and overview of asylum medicine. The presentation reviewed the history and legal basis of asylum, the physical and psychological assessment of asylum seekers and how to write affidavits.

The Northwest Health Law Advocates: Responding to Immigrants' and Refugees' Fears About Health Care

Making a Case for Sanctuary Hospitals – JAMA article by Saadi A, Ahmed S, Katz MH. Published online October 16, 2017.

The American Civil Liberties Union: Know Your Rights information distinguishing judicial warrant from ICE warrant

Know Your Rights - Protecting Immigrant Families
A campaign co-chaired by the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) that brings together leading advocates for immigrants, children, education, health, anti-hunger and anti-poverty groups, and faith leaders, to defend against threats that restrict the ability of low-income immigrant families and their U.S. citizen children to access basic programs that safeguard their health care, nutrition, housing, and economic security.