Skip to content

Professor Meredith Van Natta Authors Article in Law & Society Review

January 18, 2024

Assistant Professor Meredith Van Natta published an article titled "Public Charge, Legal Estrangement, and Renegotiating Situational Trust in the US Healthcare Safety Net" in Law & Society Review. From the article:

"US immigration law increasingly excludes many immigrants materially and symbolically from vital safety-net resources. Existing scholarship has emphasized the public charge rule as a key mechanism for enacting these exclusionary trends, but less is known about how recent public charge uncertainty has shaped how noncitizens and healthcare workers negotiate safety-net resources. Drawing on ethnographic observations and interviews with 80 safety-net workers and patients in three US states from 2015 to 2020, I argue that intensifying anti-immigrant rhetoric surrounding public charge has extended a sense of surveillance into clinical spaces in previously unexamined ways. Drawing on theories of medical legal violence, system avoidance, and legal estrangement, I demonstrate how these dynamics undermined immigrants' health chances and compromised clinic workers' efforts to facilitate care. I also reveal how participants responded to this insinuation of legal violence in healthcare spaces by promoting situational trust in specific procedures and institutions."

Read the full article here: