Posts Tagged ‘undocumented’


Ensuring census inaccuracy

October 16, 2009

From a policy standpoint, I find this amendment to the Commerce, Justice and Science appropriations bill absolutely mind-boggling.  In short, Vitter and Bennett don’t think that undocumented folks should be counted in the census.  And they think the best way to make that happen is to insert a question about immigration status/citizenship into the line-up.

I’ve got several problems with this.

  1. It’s unconstitutional.  We’re directed to count residents. Not just people we like.  Not just the rule-abiders.  Not just citizens.  Residents.
  2. It’s also not possible to somehow exclude undocumented folks and still count everyone else accurately.  The truth is that a high percentage of immigrant families are mixed-status.  Any line of questioning that poses any threat to undocumented folks will result in a overall undercount of all legal immigrants too.  Period.
  3. As it stands right now, society is still obligated to provide a number of services to all people, documented or not.  Children still go to school.  Emergency rooms still treat everyone.   So its pretty broken logic to think that federal money should be allocated by a formula that doesn’t include folks the states will still have to serve.

There are other reasons that this is bad policy.  But that’s my first draft.  Feel free to add.

And, you know, if your rep Senator is on the fence, feel free to give him/her a call too.



Political realities; wrong answers

August 21, 2009

Though I caught part of President Obama’s radio interview during a coffee refill yesterday, Ezra Klein prompted me to read the entire transcript.

While there is a lot here to appreciate, I find this incredibly discouraging:

OBAMA: I’d be happy to. First of all, you mentioned illegal immigrants. This has been an example of just pure misinformation out there. None of the bills that have been voted on in Congress, and none of the proposals coming out of the White House propose giving coverage to illegal immigrants — none of them. That has never been on the table; nobody has discussed it. So everybody who is listening out there, when you start hearing that somehow this is all designed to provide health insurance to illegal immigrants, that is simply not true and has never been the case.

SMERCONISH: What is their fate, if I might ask? Because there’s a 1986 law on the book that says if you show up at an ER, you’ve got to be treated.

OBAMA: Well, that will continue because we don’t want a situation in which some child, even if they’re an illegal immigrant, shows up in an emergency room with tuberculosis and nobody is giving them treatment, and then they’re going back to the playground and playing next to our kids.

So I think there is a basic standard of decency where if somebody is in a death situation or a severe illness, that we’re going to provide them emergency care. But nobody has talked about providing health insurance to illegal immigrants. I want to make that absolutely clear.

I understand that undocumented folks aren’t going to gain access to health insurance through any of this fall’s legislation.  I get the political reality.  And I get why Obama answered the question that way.

But it’s still the wrong answer.

EMTALA isn’t about containing contagious diseases.  And differentiating between “our kids” and those other kids is wrong and counterproductive.

It doesn’t take someone particularly malicious to see that there are two solutions to the hypothetical Obama offered.  EMTALA.  Or segregated playgrounds.