Public Health – Seattle & King County has taken steps to strengthen the protections for all clients at its health clinics.
This comes as recent federal immigration proposals have made people in immigrant communities feel more fear and stress. Some families feel they must choose between avoiding a clinic and possibly risk their health, or risk an encounter with federal immigration agents.
Public Health – Seattle & King County said it’s “very unlikely” that federal immigration agents would search their clinics. But, just in case, it has taken steps to strengthen the protections for all clients at its health clinics.
It has designated clinics as private areas, including waiting areas. Signs are posted that make it clear that these spaces are designated private.
With this policy in place, federal immigration officers now need a valid judicial (court) search warrant to take any action in clinics.
Employees are trained to identify a valid judicial search warrant. Federal immigration agents may not enter a clinic without a valid warrant.
Reception staff and other employees are being trained to be prepared and better serve immigrant families.
“For King County to remain a beacon of opportunity, we must ensure that immigrants have access to vital health and social services,” said the Public Health – Seattle & King County’s website.
Public Health – Seattle & King County operates clinics across King County and serves lower-income pregnant women and their families, women and men who need birth control and tests and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, and children and adults who are unable to access dental care elsewhere.