Blogging mostly about mundane stuff like, immigration, Workers' Compensation and other immigrant related activities.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Josh Haner/The New York Times

Luis Alberto Jiménez, an illegal immigrant injured in a car accident in Florida, was treated
at a community hospital, which eventually sent him back to Guatemala. He spends most of
his days inside a one-room house; only the presence of visitors, who can help him into his
wheelchair, gives him the rare chance to get out of bed.

On Sunday, August 3rd, the NY Times ran an article by Deborah Sontag entitled: "Immigrants Facing Deportation by U.S. Hospitals

The story is about an undocumented immigrant named Luis Jimenez. It's a story about how a horrific auto accident suffered at the hands of a drunk driver, led to years of unpaid medical care for an undocumented immigrant. The accident severely injured the driver, took the lives of two other passengers and left Luis Jimenez with a traumatic brain injury and wheel chair bound. It's a story about how a hospital that initially cared for Mr. Jimenez at a reported cost of upwards of $1.5 million ultimately forcibly deported him to Guatemala.

This is clearly a tragic story and it sheds further light our broken immigration system. A system that continues to reward employers with cheap labor at the expense of fair wages and worker rights.

600+ Comments and counting...

The NY Times story has thus far garnered some 634 comments. Some of the reader comments are from anti-immigration proponents.
The comment with the highest "Reader Recommended" rating is;

Reader Recommended:
He was in the country illegally. Sorry that he was sick etc. etc. but the 1.5 million dollars that was spent on him could have been better used for Americans.

The last time I looked it was not our responsibility to be the health care provider to the entire world.

Why do you think that New York and California are going broke?

— Howard, New Jersey

Comment Link

The NY Times also provides "Editors Selections", which publication deems as follows; "NY Times editors aim to highlight the most interesting and thoughtful comments that represent a range of views".

Editors Selections:

What we have is a new form of slavery: give undocumented aliens jobs and no benefits. If they get sick, who cares. If they die, so what. If they complain-call INS. The employers get free workers, we get cheap products.

Health care seems to be a "I've got mine,I don't care about yours" discussion. Government health care is vilified in spite of 40+ yrs of Medicare.

Stop the madness!! Let's have a civilized discussion SOME WHERE!!!

Comment Link

More questions than answers

The story of Luis Jimenez raises many troubling questions about what our government should do about our nations growing number of uninsured. Medical treatment should be afforded to all and it should not matter whether the person is legally within this country or not.

Money is not the issue

The problem faced by the hospital that cared for Mr. Jimenez is one that hospital administrators face on a daily basis. The fact that a hospital would resort to deporting an individual, a Federal process, raises troubling questions for both undocumented immigrants and US citizens alike.

Money is not the issue and those opposed to spending any amount of money on undocumented immigrants, should be reminded of the wasteful spending that happens daily on the War in Iraq.

If someone feels that stopping the war in Iraq is not the answer, then perhaps Mr. Jimenez medical care costs can be paid from Social Security Administration's Suspense Fund. The Suspense Fund is a fund set up after the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act when the SSA office began to receive a large number W-2's from employers with "false" or "no-match" Social Security Numbers. The SSA set up a fund to receive the
billions in payroll paid into the system by undocumented immigrants using fake Social Security Cards. In 2005, the NY Times ran a story on the SSA's Suspense Fund and reported that as much as $7 billion was being paid into the Suspense Fund.

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