Latinos are disproportionately affected by asthma, and Trump’s policies are making it worse

Los Angeles Times

The wall, DACA, asthma, the list goes on . . .

Many Americans live where it is unsafe to breathe. About 40% of the U.S. population — more than 126 million people — live in areas that do not comply with national ambient air quality standards. This public health problem poses a particular threat to Latinos, who are exposed disproportionately to high levels of the main pollutants that can aggravate asthma: ozone and fine particulate matter.

Latinos and Asian Americans are more likely than any other racial or ethic group to live in counties that don’t meet standards for particulate matter, according to a 2011 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, the agency’s most recent report on air quality that includes demographic information. At the time of the study, 26.6% of Latinos lived in counties that did not meet standards for particulate matter, while the same was true for only 9.7% of whites. More than 48% of Latinos lived in counties that did not meet standards for ozone.

President Trump is undermining efforts to improve air quality for Americans. His administration has attempted to delay the implementation of new ozone standards adopted by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2015, and it is seeking cuts to the EPA’s budget that would severely compromise the agency’s ability to enforce all air quality standards.

For Latinos, the Trump administration is compounding the problem even more, through its efforts to roll back healthcare and its aggressive deportation policies.

Healthcare is critically important for asthma patients, particularly children. Latino children who have health insurance are more likely than white children with insurance to visit emergency rooms or be hospitalized for asthma, according to a 2011 report by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

But Latinos have less access to healthcare than other groups. According to 2015 CDC data, Latino populations have an uninsured rate of 19.4%, compared with 6.2% of white Americans. The NRDC report estimates that two out of five Latinos are either uninsured or underinsured.

If the Trump administration and Republicans roll back any part of the Affordable Care Act, the rates of uninsured are certain to grow. Before the ACA, one out of three adult Latinos lacked coverage, according to a 2013 report by Kaiser. The enrollment rate among Latinos then grew 7.2% under Obamacare, according to a New York Times investigation. And because Latinos have comparatively high rates of asthma, diabetes and obesity, they in particular have benefited from the ACA’s protection for people with preexisting conditions.

Although it is Immigration and Customs Enforcement policy to avoid conducting sweeps at healthcare facilities, which are classified as “sensitive locations,” ICE agents reportedly targeted several individuals at hospitals this summer. In one case, undocumented Latino parents were intercepted at a Texas children’s hospital after they registered a child who had been transferred to a neonatal intensive care unit. In another, ICE agents moved a critically ill Salvadoran woman who was awaiting emergency surgery to a detention facility.

A number of hospital chief executives have issued open letters acknowledging the problem and encouraging immigrants to seek care. But a large body of research has shown that immigrants tend to avoid healthcare providers when fears of deportation are running high. As a result, many Latinos with asthma, among other conditions, are less likely to receive the medical attention they need.

Trump should want to protect air quality for all citizens and residents, including Latinos. His administration could do this by vigorously enforcing EPA standards and avoiding policies that directly or indirectly limit access to medical care. Instead, sadly, his policies are making things worse.

Subscribe today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Must Read

More Latinas are becoming teachers and reshaping our nation’s classrooms

Victor Landa November 29, 2017

The growth of the Latino population in the United States will have a lasting cultural and intellectual impact beyond the arts, food, and celebrations. More and more, Latinas are becoming […]

Could Hispanic vote push Lupe Valdez into Texas Governor’s Office?

Victor Landa December 8, 2017

Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez is running as a Democratic candidate for Texas Governor after a year of speaking out on big state issues– particularly the controversial sanctuary cities ban. Experts says […]

Rosca de Reyes – A Slice of Gospel and Tradition #Recipe

Victor Landa January 4, 2018

Often used as evangelizing tools, celebrations in Mexico feature elements that are charged with symbolism. Take the piñata, for example, used as an allegory of sin (colorful and appealing on the […]

Brookline High Students Walk Out of Class for 2nd Time Over Racist Snapchat Videos

Victor Landa December 1, 2017

Hundreds of students in Massachusetts staged a high school walkout for a second time Thursday in support of a classmate who was the target of a racist slur in at […]

This Latino Democrat wants to get 50 Latinos in Congress by 2023

Victor Landa December 6, 2017

When Antonio “Tony” Cárdenas told BOLD PAC, a growing Democratic Political Action Committee dedicated to increasing the diversity of leadership in the House and Senate, that he would triple the $1 million in its […]

We sang in Spanish, fell in love with ‘Coco’ — Latino culture trumped hate in 2017

Victor Landa December 13, 2017

If you’re a Latino in America — or Latinx, the gender-neutral the younger generation prefers — the national landscape felt particularly brutal this year, the stinging divisive words of President […]

Videos Show Texas Troopers Ripping Apart Immigrant Families Through Deportation Pipeline

Victor Landa December 15, 2017

IN TEXAS, STATE troopers have become frontline enforcers of federal immigration laws. In recent years, and especially since Donald Trump was elected president, the Texas Highway Patrol, part of the state’s […]

How ‘One Day at a Time’s Diverse Writers Room Creates Authentic Latino Narratives

Victor Landa January 26, 2018

Much like the loving Alvarez family they created, the writers of One Day at a Time work closely together, don’t always agree but love each other anyway. Their collective family experiences helped […]