WASHINGTON The Massachusetts attorney general
issued guidelines on Thursday to healthcare providers to help
allay concerns among patients who fear they could be deported or
arrested while seeking medical services as U.S. President Donald
Trump steps up immigration enforcement.
Healthcare providers are reporting that more immigrants are
scared to receive medical care because they fear the U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency(ICE) could show up at
doctor's offices and conduct deportation or request personal
information, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said.
"This administration has sought to create a lot of fear and
anxiety in immigrant communities to the point where they've
stoked fears that taking your child to the doctor or school
could result in deportation," Healey said in an interview.
Healey also issued guidance to local public school districts
about how a school should respond if ICE requests access to
interview or take custody of a student, and what information
schools should not collect and maintain.
She did not have data on how widespread either issue is but
said anecdotally she has heard from healthcare providers and
schools that more immigrants were afraid that receiving medical
care or going to school could result in deportation or adversely
impact their immigration status.
The guidance came as Democratic attorneys general and U.S.
courts have impeded several of Trump's immigration policies.
A judge in April blocked Trump's executive order that sought
to withhold federal funds from so-called sanctuary cities, which
offer safe harbor to illegal immigrants and often do not use
municipal funds or resources to advance the enforcement of
federal immigration laws. Two federal judges also suspended
Trump's executive orders restricting travel from several
Some fear has been caused by press reports of potential
executive orders, Healey said, including one that would seek to
keep out immigrants likely to use a certain amount of government
assistance but that policy has not been signed into law.
The guidance for healthcare providers answers a list of
questions, including whether healthcare providers are required
to verify their patients' immigration or citizenship status and
what protections are in place for patients who seek medical
While other states have not yet issued similar guidance,
Healey said she has been in contact with other attorneys general
on Trump's immigration policies and the impact they are having
on state residents.
"We all have immigrants in our states and we have seen the
real fear these policies have engendered," Healey said.