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Health officials say their patients fear health services because of 'Public Charge' rule

Posted at 6:58 PM, Oct 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-16 11:21:05-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — For some people in Kern County, the pursuit of happiness collides with the opportunity of health and well-being.

Carol Stewart, a doctor at Clinica Sierra Vista in East Bakersfield, says her "patients are afraid to access the [health] services that they are entitled to because they are worried it's going to affect their ability to become a citizen in the future."

Stewart says this is a result of President Donald Trump's attempt to implement a rule that would deny legal immigrants a green card if they utilize public programs such as food stamps, medicaid and housing assistance.

Health care officials hosted a press conference in front of Clinica Sierra Vista in East Bakersfield Tuesday morning encouraging legal immigrants to seek health care services, after several federal judges imposed a temporary injunction on the rule.

Ambar Tovar, an immigration attorney at the UFW Foundation, welcomes individuals who'd like more information about the rule to contact her office at 661-857-8371.