Immigrants fear public services, study reveals

AmericaA survey by Latino Decisions reveals that Spanish-dominant or immigrant Latinos are less likely to seek assistance from public service programs than those born in the United States. The survey interviewed 1,405 Latinos from across the US between January 29th and March 12th this year.

The great majority of the respondents held US citizenship or were legal residents; however, those who were undocumented or primarily Spanish speaking tended not to seek help. 58% of all immigrants, undocumented and legal, are afraid of being deported in comparison to just 32% of Latinos who were born in the United States. Immigrants who speak mainly Spanish are even more afraid of deportation (66%). When it comes to public services, the gap between Spanish- and English-speaking Latinos becomes even more pronounced.

Just 10% of English-speaking Latinos avoid the police due to concern about being hassled over their immigration status; however, 19% of Spanish speakers avoid the service. The numbers are much the same when it comes to air travel, using public transport and applying for or renewing driver’s licenses.  58% of the respondents primarily spoke Spanish, according to Francisco I Pedraza, Edward D Vargas and Gabriel R Sanchez, who wrote a report for the Huffington Post. “These results signal a deep-rooted problem in our society and should be of concern to public servants and health care service delivery personnel interested in eliminating social and health disparities,” the report claims.