Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

December Green (Committee Chair), Kirsten Halling (Committee Member), Lafleur Small (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Humanities (MHum)


The purpose of this thesis is to explore healthcare for undocumented immigrants in France and the US in light of immigration policy, labor needs, and social values. While both countries have historically relied and continue to rely on undocumented labor, they treat irregular migrants differently when it comes to healthcare. While many hospitals in the US deport undocumented patients in a practice termed medical repatriation, the French government has legislated an illness clause that gives residency permits to severely sick sans-papiers who need medical care. To explore the reasoning behind these extremely contrasting treatments, the thesis studies the social values that underlie the healthcare systems in both countries. It concludes that in recognition of healthcare as a human right, France has concrete legislation for sans-papiers; in contrast, rights language is largely missing from the US healthcare system, resulting in a void of legislation that leads to practices like medical repatriation.

Page Count


Department or Program


Year Degree Awarded