This project uses health care as a lens to explore how individuals living outside of their home country gain access to social protection. Immigrants are often ineligible for social welfare programs in receiving countries, and can no longer physically access social welfare programs in sending countries. Extending welfare to non-citizens is extremely contentious, and yet we see surprising variation in when and how immigrants are able to access this corner of the social safety net – both at the cross-national and sub-national levels. Using the United States and Spain as cases, and drawing from legislative records, media reports, and interviews with Ecuadorian immigrants in both countries, our early findings suggest that economic conditions and partisan leanings are insufficient to explain variation in social protection. Launched in 2014, this project has resulted in four co-authored papers so far: one in press, one under review, and two in the writing-up stage.