In 2023, the US witnessed the most considerable upsurge in refugee arrivals since 2017. Notably, major urban areas such as New York City and Chicago have experienced a recent influx of asylum seekers, straining city resources to provide adequate care. This has, in turn, inflamed existing debates among policy makers regarding the extension of health care coverage to undocumented migrants.
Nevertheless, even if undocumented migrants were granted health care coverage, they would still face an uphill battle familiar to many non-native English speakers already settled in the country: navigating a health care system ill-suited for the care of patients with limited English proficiency.
In this era of increased migration and globalization, the US health care system must adopt a more proactive approach to caring for all Americans, irrespective of their languages. This necessitates expanding beyond the heavy reliance on interpreter services, instead embracing the fundamental principles of linguistically adept care. Effective and direct communication between health care providers and patients lies at the heart of this approach, a vital aspect that the health care system must prioritize.