HPV Vaccine Concerns Immigrants

All immigrants seeking legal status in the United States must pass a medical exam and receive a series of vaccines. Now, a new law requires females immigrants ages 11 to 26 to get the human papilloma virus vaccine.

The vaccine protects women against four strands of the virus that could cause cervical cancer or genital warts. This requirement, however, is raising many concerns among immigrants seeking naturalization.

Adelina Vera has lived in the United States for 13 years. Now, she is one step away from becoming a United States resident. To her, this law is another barrier to overcome.

Vera believes the law is discriminating immigrants. She says it's not right that they are the only people required to get the vaccine.

According to the Center for Disease Control, nearly 6.2 million Americans are infected with HPV each year.

Doctors say anyone that is sexually active can get infected. They add that the law does not imply that immigrants are more susceptible to the virus.

For Vera, the reasoning behind the vaccination does not justify the cost. The vaccine requirement adds $375 to the cost of becoming a resident. Immigration counselor Al Muniz says this is too much for immigrant families.

"If you add this to the $1,410 for adjustment of status and everything else they have to pay," Muniz said. "That is a lot of money for these people."

Vera says nearly $800 dollars, for her and her daughter, could set her back financially. But she is not giving up.

"Because really, what they want is to become residents in this country," said Muniz. "They want the American Dream. They will not stop because of the vaccine."

Vera and her daughter have completed the medical exam and are now waiting for a response from immigration.