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Immigration Laws and Immigrant Health: Modeling the Spread of Tuberculosis in Arizona

The United States has observed a steady decline in the number of reported Tuberculosis (TB) cases in the past fifty years, but many states, such as Arizona, have had rates consistently above the US average. TB has been regarded as a disease of the disadvantaged, where poverty, overcrowding and malnourishment are responsible for much of the continued spread. Accordingly, the majority of TB cases in Arizona occur in the foreign-born population, whose households usually fall below the poverty line and have less access to adequate health care. Within this population, undocumented immigrants are the most socially and economically disadvantaged. Therefore, immigration laws, including some of the provisions in SB 1070, are likely to cause further marginalization as the increased fear of deportation will discourage undocumented individuals from seeking work and healthcare. Such laws could potentially exacerbate the spread of TB among undocumented immigrants and the low-income communities in which they reside, eventually extending to all socioeconomic classes. To observe the spread of TB in Arizona we employ a TB epidemic model that considers low and high income groups and accounts for different degrees of interaction within and between these socioeconomic classes. We also adjust the model parameters to simulate changes in behavior of undocumented immigrants before and after the implementation of an immigration law such as SB 1070.

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Laura Catron, East Tennessee State University
Ambar La Forgia, Swarthmore College
Dustin Padilla, Arizona State University
Reynaldo Castro, Arizona State University
Karen Rios-Soto, University of Puerto Rico - Mayag├╝ez
Baojun Song, Montclair State University