Summary: Using 2015–2021 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) data, authors examine the demographic, socioeconomic, and health characteristics of Latinx LGBT immigrants. This study focuses on noncitizens who do not have permanent resident status (“green cards”), a group at heightened vulnerability to low socioeconomic status and poor health. Although some noncitizens without green dards are legally authorized to be in the country, an estimated 85% are “undocumented.”
Further, 85.9% of all undocumented immigrants in California are Latinx. Authors estimate there are 211,000 Latinx LGBT immigrants in California. This includes an estimated 68,800 Latinx LGBT immigrants without green cards.
Findings: While similar in many ways to Latinx LGBT people with green cards, Latinx LGBT immigrants in California who did not have green cards were older, had less education and fewer economic resources, and were more likely to be renters, uninsured, and report no regular source of health care when compared to U.S.-born Latinx LGBT people. Latinx LGBT immigrants who did not have green cards shared some similarities with Latinx non-LGBT immigrants who did not have green cards. However, they were less likely to be married or raising children and more likely to be experiencing psychological distress compared to their non-LGBT peers.
Findings indicate a need to address the socioeconomic and health challenges faced by Latinx LGBT immigrants without green cards, including poverty, food insecurity, barriers to health care, and higher rates of psychological distress. Policy and program interventions to explore include those facilitating access to higher education and English language classes and state efforts to extend MediCal and food support programs to all residents, regardless of citizenship status.
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