Should Illegal Immigrants Have Access to Health Care?

Topics: Immigration to the United States, Illegal immigration, Immigration Pages: 8 (2996 words) Published: October 6, 2010
Each year millions of illegal and undocumented immigrants enter the United States, most from Latin American countries, such as Mexico. Mexico is the largest single source of undocumented aliens in the U.S. and it is estimated that Mexican nationals may amount to 50% of the United States total. Immigrants flee their countries for a variety of reasons, such as, political repression, economic hardship, war, and poverty. Since there has been a spike in immigration, there have been policies implemented in an effort to keep the “other” out of the U.S. and from receiving public services, with an emphasis on “dark-skinned” and ethnic minorities. One such policy called the Personal Responsibility Act of 1996 and its amendments restricted federal and state benefits available to undocumented immigrants. Opponents argue that illegal immigrants do not have a right to public healthcare because they do not contribute to the tax system and place a drain on the healthcare system’s resources. Supporters of illegal immigrants receiving healthcare argue that healthcare is a universal right and should not be denied to a person based on citizenship status. Providing healthcare and other public services to illegal immigrants, despite costs, are beneficial to the American community. It is ironic that America is traditionally anti-immigration, although most Americans themselves are not far removed from their immigrant ancestors. American history, however, is replete with examples of bigotry and hatred directed towards those who are illegal immigrants. Americans have such negative attitudes toward illegal immigrants because they do not want people coming into the country that they will have to take care of. Walter Trattner affirms that in the early colonial days (17th century) of American society colonies used to have “warning away laws” which prohibited strangers from entering certain colonies and staying long periods of time. In order to stay in a certain colony, one would have to be viable and contribute to the colony in order to reap its benefits. Trattner also states that colonists showed less compassion for the plight of strangers because they were thought to be a source of social and political, as well as, financial difficulty for the community. Unfortunately, Americans still have the same attitude when it comes to strangers, or “illegal’s”, entering their community and taking advantage of their community’s resources. As a result, today the United States builds walls along its border and implements strict border laws, intended to prohibit illegal immigrants from entering the country. When illegal immigrants enter the United States they are prohibited from obtaining, finding housing, and receiving driver’s licenses making it so difficult for them that many will leave the country. It is not surprising that most of the border laws and policies are targeted at people of color and other minority groups. The United States illegal immigration policies, anti-immigration attitudes, and issues of who should have access to healthcare are strongly related to class and race. Most illegal immigrants coming into the United States are people of color, uneducated, and poor, who are usually marginalized in U.S. society. Therefore, illegal immigrants are deemed unworthy of healthcare or any other public service provided by the U.S. government. Healthcare, furthermore, is an issue of socioeconomic status. Those at the top (whites and people with money) will always have greater access to healthcare than people at the bottom (minorities and illegal immigrants). The very people that get to decide whether illegal immigrants should have healthcare are at the top of American society and they have very little concern for those at the bottom. Jonas argues that, “current U.S. policies deal with Latin American immigrants as if they constituted a major threat to U.S. “national security” or are infringing upon our society. To minimize the threat of illegal immigrants...

References: Berk, M., Schur, C., Chavez, L., & Frankel, M. (2000). Healthcare use among undocumented Latino immigrants. Health Affairs, 19 (4): 1-14.
Brotherton, D
Dwyer, L., Hegen, D., Morse, A., Speasmaker, L. (2007). Immigrant policy: Ballot initiatives affecting immigrants. National Conference of State Legislatures,
Gorman, Anna
Lipman, F. (2007). The taxation of undocumented immigrants: separate, unequal, and without representation. Harvard Latino Law Review, 9 (2).
Moore, Erin
Nandi, A., Galea, S., Lopez, G., Nandi, V., Strongarone, S., & Ompad, D. (2008). Access to and use of health services among undocumented Mexican immigrants in a U.S. urban area. American Journal of Public Health, 98 (11).
Pallarito, K
Ray, S. (2009). Should illegal immigrants be covered by healthcare reform? Associated Content. Retrieved from:
Swain, C. (Ed.). (2007). Debating Immigration. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Trattner, W
Ziv, T. & Lo, B. (1995). Denial of care to illegal immigrants------proposition 187 in California. The New England Journal of Medicine, 332(16): 1095-1098.
[ 1 ]. Moore, Erin. (1986). Issues in access to healthcare: The undocumented Mexican resident in Richmond, California. Anthropology, 17 (3): 65-70.
[ 2 ]. Berk, M., Schur, C., Chavez, L., & Frankel, M. (2000). Healthcare use among undocumented Latino immigrants. Health Affairs, 19 (4).
[ 4 ]. Jonas, S., & Thomas, S. (1999). Immigration: A civil rights issue for the Americas. Scholarly Resources. Pp.87
[ 5 ]
[ 6 ]. Jonas, S., & Thomas, S. (1999). Immigration: A civil rights issue for the Americas. Scholarly Resources. Pp.87
[ 7 ]
[ 8 ]. Dwyer, L., Hegen, D., Morse, A., Speasmaker, L. (2007). Immigrant policy: ballot initiatives affecting immigrants. National Conference of State Legislatures,
[ 9 ]. Inda, J. Targeting immigrants: Government, technology, and ethics. (2006). Blackwell Publishing
[ 10 ]
[ 11 ]. FAIR. (2009). Illegal immigration and public health.
[ 12 ]. Romano, A. (2009). Wait a second. Why shouldn’t we insure illegals? Newsweek,
[ 13 ]. Wolf, Richard. (2008). Rising healthcare costs put focus on illegal immigrants. USA Today.
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Access to Health Care for Immigrants in NYC Essay
  • Essay about Illegal Immigrants and Health Care
  • Essay about Health Care System and Illegal Immigrants
  • Health Care for Undocumented Immigrants Essay
  • Essay about Issues of access to health care
  • HCA255 Health Care Access Essay
  • Access to Health Care Essay
  • Access to Mental Health Research Paper

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free