100% Kids Covered: Patricia and Sara the Dreamers

05 December 2018 Written by  

Patricia and her family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah when she was fifteen after living in Texas for a couple of years. She attended West High School and is now an undergraduate at the University of Utah. She and her sister are two of thousands of undocumented immigrant youth living in our state with a lack of access to health care.

She told me, “Health is the most important. If we do not have health, we do not have anything.”

As she attended high school, she was not able to get her regular health care checks. This year was the first time she became ill. She got food poising for two weeks and couldn’t attend her classes for a week at the University of Utah. Her mother ended up taking time off work to take her to the emergency room. This wasn’t the first time they needed to take someone in their family to the emergency room.

About three years ago, her younger sister, Sara, got a urinary track infection that became a life or death situation. They rushed to the emergency room because the infection had spread to her kidneys. Her mother took of a couple of days off work to be with her.  Sara also missed days at school because of this. They racked up over $4,600 in medical bills because of this; bills that they are still paying off.

Fortunately, their youngest brother qualified for CHIP. He has been able to attend his wellness checks, stay up to date with his vaccinations, and when he needed stitches, their parents could afford to take him to the hospital.

Patricia and Sara deserve access to health care like all other children and youth in our state. With health insurance, they would have been able to obtain preventative care and saved their family from going to the emergency room.

Join our 100% Kids Coverage Campaign to ensure that all kids have access to health coverage regardless of immigration status! Young people like Patricia and Sara deserve the opportunity to reach their full potential.

CiriacHealth Policy and Community Engagement Fellow

Ciriac is a proud immigrant who is passionate about immigrant rights, education, and health care. She is a community organizer, poet, and writer who uses her voice and online platform to advocate for her community.

During her undergraduate she was heavily involved in creating access to higher education for undocumented students on the University of Utah campus. After graduating, she has continued to work closely with the Enriching Utah Coalition (EUC) and serves as the Immigration Chair for the Utah Coalition of la Raza (UCLR) board to work on immigrant justice issues.

Ciriac graduated with a B.S. in Political Science and Honors Sociology  from the University of Utah. She was born in Cuernavaca Morelos, Mexico and grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is excited to join Voices for Utah Children as the Health Policy and Community Engagement Fellow and hopes to continue her education by obtaining a J.D. or M.P.A.