Faith-based health care has a long-standing commitment to care for immigrants. Our duty is to welcome the stranger out of charity and respect for each individual.

According to The Pew Research Center, there are currently 11.2 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. Six states account for 59 percent of that population – California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey and Illinois.

It is estimated that 450,000 undocumented immigrants resided in Illinois as of 2014. Caring for our community members, respecting the dignity of each human life and addressing social determinants of health means we advocate for measures that seek to protect immigrant communities and provide an opportunity for citizenship.

AMITA Health remains committed to ensuring that all immigrants regardless of status have access to health care and are treated equitably and fairly.

What’s New?

On September 22, 2018 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a proposed rule that could limit legal immigrants’ future immigration status, such as the ability to get a green card or become a citizen, based on their receipt of public benefits.  Under previous guidance, a “public charge” determination was only applied to non-citizens who relied on case benefits for most of their income, or who require public assistance for long-term care or institutionalization.  As stated in the proposed draft rule, a person may be denied admission to the US, lawful permanent resident (LPR) status or a visa extension on “public charge” grounds if they use certain health, nutrition, and housing programs. Learn more about determination of public charge.

On September 12, 2018 he Trump administration reached a settlement stemming from the separation of immigrant children from their parents at the U.S. border that lets some 1,000 people affected by the “zero tolerance” policy apply again for U.S. asylum after previously being turned down.  Congress has debated the impact of immigration and border security without resolution this year.   Several pieces of legislation have been proposed and discussed, but no substantive action has been taken to address the crisis we are facing in America over how to provide a path to citizenship for all those who seek it.

Each section below provides a deeper look on key immigration policy issues, including links to the most recent articles which can also be found in Featured News.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

In 2012, President Obama announced that his administration would stop deporting young illegal immigrants who match certain criteria previously proposed under DREAM Act legislation that was not passed. The Department of Homeland Security exercised discretion at President Obama’s direction by implementing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

DACA allows certain people who came to the United States as children and meet certain guidelines to request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years to protect them from possible deportation and allow them to work or attend school.

Since DACA’s inception five years ago, over 780,000 young immigrants who were brought to this country as children have been granted DACA status after paying application fees, passing background checks and applying for work permits or being admitted to college.

Learn More


The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, first introduced by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin in 2001 and reintroduced multiple times including in 2017, is federal legislation that would create a multi-step process for undocumented immigrants to earn permanent residency.

The DREAM Act failed to garner enough votes for passage on several occasions, with the most recent major failure in occurring in the Senate in 2010 after the measure passed the House.

The DREAM Act of 2017 would allow immigrant students who grew up in the United States to earn lawful permanent residence and eventually American citizenship if they met certain requirements.

Learn More

Illinois Trust Act

The Illinois Trust Act sets reasonable, constitutional limits on local police interaction with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to foster trust between immigrant communities and local police. Federal courts have consistently held that immigration detainers are not mandatory.

It is estimated that 450,000 undocumented immigrants live in Illinois as of 2014. Two-thirds of undocumented immigrants have lived in the U.S. for at least 10 years and 90 percent of households with at least one undocumented immigrant also have at least one member of the household who is legally present, in most cases a U.S. citizen.

The threat of increased immigration enforcement has raised concerns among immigrant families, some who decide to forego necessary medical services out of fear they could be putting themselves or family members at risk.

Learn More

External Resources

Information from third-party organizations that can be resources for you to continue to learn about the issues at hand.

IHA Surprise Billing Issue Brief

Illinois Health and Hospital Association issue brief on surprise billing.

View Resource

CHA Drug Pricing Support Letter

Catholic Healthcare Association position on drug pricing (May 2019)

View Resource

2018 America’s Patient First Plan

President Donald Trump's America's Patient First Plan

View Resource

Featured News

Featured news includes articles from multiple viewpoints and is designed to keep you abreast of the current debate around these issues. This information should not be construed as our point of view.

View More

Secretary of state wants protection of undocumented immigrants made law

Illinois’ secretary of state is pursuing legislation to codify the office’s long-held policy of not giving federal agencies full access to its database of driver’s ...

Daily Herald + July 15, 2019 + View Article

Supreme Court puts census citizenship question on hold

The Supreme Court on Thursday froze the Trump administration’s plan to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census form sent to every U.S. household, ...

Washington Post + June 27, 2019 + View Article