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As never before, the United States is becoming a population of immigrants. In the year 2000, more than 28 million persons born in other countries were resident in the United States, a 43% increase during the decade of the 1990s. Over the same period,immigrants and children born to immigrants accounted for 70% of the population growth.

Immigrant health is a complex topic. Not only do many immigrant children arrive with multiple unaddressed health issues, but there is evidence that the health of some immigrant children actually declines after living in the United States.

Becoming an immigrant is never easy. Although our emphasis is on the health-care needs of this diverse population, the most important long-term issues may be those of identity and acculturation. As one immigrant author so eloquently notes, “We have to live these half-lives of people who cannot...

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