Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department


Reader 1

Dr. Sarah Budischak

Reader 2

Dr. Rivka Weinberg


In the recent political climate, the debate regarding undocumented immigrants and what, if anything, they are entitled to in the US has been incredibly contentious. In the bioethics portion of this thesis, I examine two of the major frameworks for distributive justice, cosmopolitanism and the political conception, address the criminal aspect of undocumented immigration, and suggest a switch from a focus on criminality to focusing on the forces that incentivize undocumented immigration to determine the type of claim undocumented immigrants have to health resources. In the biology portion, I examine three case studies: respiratory tract infection, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis to illustrate health disparities among undocumented populations. I conclude that based on their participation in shared social cooperation and the unspoken shadow contract of companies incentivizing undocumented immigrants to come to the US to provide cheap labor, undocumented immigrants do have a right to access healthcare in the US. However, we should account for risk factors such as other marginalized identities, country of origin, and rate and methods of disease transmission when determining exactly what that care should look like.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.