Life and Death in Everyday Life: Emergency Dialysis for Undocumented Immigrants

Milena A. Melo, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures, Mississippi State University, and Mellon Resident Scholar, SAR

Colloquium, Dobkin Boardroom, SAR Administration Building

Wednesday, October 25, 2017, 12:00–1:00 pm, Free

Milena MeloMilena Melo© School for Advanced ResearchMilena Melo© School for Advanced Research

Please register in advance here.

Over 11 million undocumented immigrants currently live and work in the United States as members of society who harvest our produce, scrub our toilets, contribute to the economy by paying taxes, and raise U.S. citizen children as part of mixed status families. However, they are barred from accessing the majority of publically funded healthcare services due to their unauthorized status. This becomes especially critical in cases of life and death, such as emergency dialysis for undocumented immigrants suffering from end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Categorical exclusion, together with incomplete and inadequate inclusion in emergency care, has the effect of producing and prolonging social and physical suffering for undocumented ESRD patients. Melo’s research draws on over two years of fieldwork in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, in which she analyzes how life and death are experienced by undocumented immigrants as they navigate the exclusionary practices of healthcare institutions and immigration policies to access treatment that will prolong life. At this politically charged moment in time where the fate of immigrants in the U.S. is unknown, this presentation utilizes ethnography to highlight the drastic health implications and costs for those who have been intentionally excluded from the healthcare system.

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