Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Doctors Without Borders? How About Doctors As Border Guards

The Arizona legislature is considering a bill to require all patients entering hospitals to provide proof of residency. Illegal immigrants cost the state millions of dollars in unreimbursed medical care. Since hospitals are not allowed to turn away anybody seeking medical care, the bill requires doctors to treat their emergency cases first then inquire about residency status afterwards. If the patient is found to be in the country illegally, the hospital will then notify the INS about the patient's status.

Rightfully the medical community in Arizona is outraged by this proposal. There is legitimate concern that fear of getting caught will keep illegal immigrants from seeking medical care until it becomes a much bigger and more expensive problem to treat. I, like everybody else, wish we didn't have so many people in this country illegally. The path to residency and citizenship has served this country well for over 200 years. It's not right that millions of people have decided to break our laws by coming here and taking jobs from millions of unemployed Americans.

But using doctors as border agents is despicable. Our border is just to the south, a simple line that runs through the desert sands that clearly demarcates who is here in the country legally. Wouldn't it be easier to spend the state's resources to enforce that single border? Now there will be multiple borders, at each hospital entrance, to check for residency papers. Maybe the state just doesn't want to spend their own money to keep illegals out and instead pushes the responsibility and the expense onto the hospitals.

Even if the hospitals do report all the illegal immigrants in their wards, what is anybody going to do with that information? I could go to any INS office right now and tell them exactly where the illegals congregate. Just go down to any Home Depot or U-Haul parking lot and you'll find dozens of illegals loitering around. I'm sure the INS knows this too. But is anything done about it? No. Instead they conduct expensive raids on businesses like Chipotle or Tyson Foods when they can just drive up to big box stores and pick up thousands of illegal people around the country for practically nothing.

No, I say this Arizona bill should not be passed. This is just passing the buck by the government to the medical establishment. We pay millions of tax dollars so that our state and federal governments will enforce our own laws. They shouldn't abrogate their responsibilities just because they are too lame to perform their sworn duties to us citizens. If they are too fearful to stand up to pro-criminal liberal groups like the ACLU then we need to elect officials who will stand up for the laws of our country.

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