Illegal Immigrants and Health Care

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Danson Ndungu
Illegal Immigration and Health Care
Phil 165
December 7th 2010

Christopher Columbus landed on the shores of America back 500 years ago in the year 1492. Were he and his crew the first illegal immigrants in America? The land was occupied by another group of people that didn’t grant these explorers the right to have whatever they please without acquiring some kind of legal status. The topic of legal status might have been irrelevant back in those days but it surely is an issue that is widely talked about in today’s America. The issue of illegal immigrants has been a hot topic especially when it comes to discussing whether these people should be allowed to have health care provided by a government that doesn’t recognize their status. The ethical question that comes into play here is whether the opportunity to have health care is a human right or not? If it is, then the United States government would be doing an injustice by withholding health care from anyone regardless of their status in society. This paper will discuss the reasons why the United States should grant illegal immigrants (specifically undocumented workers) publically financed services; the main focus will be on healthcare. Also, an analysis of James Dwyer’s argument “Illegal Immigrants, Health Care and Social Responsibility” will be provided near the conclusion of the paper.

There are a number of reasons why the issue of illegal immigrants is such a concern. With more people crossing the border into the United States in search of a better life, the work force is being affected tremendously, and our government is spending unthinkable amounts of tax dollars trying to keep the borders safe and the crime rates low. The first reason that government should grant public services, especially healthcare, to the undocumented workers is the simple fact that they are human beings. The main goal for healthcare is obviously to prevent the death and disability, to relieve pain and suffering, and to restore function to the body for a person in need (Array 191). With these goals in mind, hospitals should not have the right to turn down anyone with one or all of these needs. If the reason a person would be turned down is simply because he/she can’t afford to pay for the medical costs, government should take care of this issue by providing them with affordable health insurance. If the government promised undocumented workers healthcare after they apply for legal documents, then these people would be gladly do it because of all the benefits that come with a legal status. What would the government benefit from taking this action? Firstly, as illegal immigrants apply for documents, the government is given the opportunity to weed out people that don’t fit the criteria-such as criminals. Even though some of these people who are unfit somehow made it through the system, then the government would be able to have some sort of records that could help keep then in line. Secondly, the lives of these formally undocumented workers would take a turn for the best because they can now fully take advantage of whatever the American society has to offer without living a life full of fear. For example, if a person robs their house, they won’t hesitate to call the police and take advantage of their services. Their happiness could lessen the tension in America when it comes to the issue of illegal immigrants. Thirdly, the government will probably not have to pay so much money to keep our borders safe. According to the White House website, Barack Obama’s budget will provide $44 billion to the Department of Homeland Security; this has gone up by $1 billion from last year (“Keeping America Safe and Secure”). Illegal immigrants will be more willing to legally cross the border if the government gives them a chance to apply for documents; this would also benefit the people because they won’t have to risk their lives in order to safely cross the border. Border security will not have to...
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