September 20th, 2009


Stop It! Health Care Reform is Not About Immigration Reform

Democrats from the President on down are lining up to reassure the country that any health care reform will not include help for illegal aliens

Shouldn't get health care?Congratulations, illegal aliens. You’ve replaced homosexuals as the powerless group that it’s okay to trash. Even among self-described liberals. Even among racial minorities and socially powerless groups.

Personally I am intensely uncomfortable with the selfish, Americans-vs-Illegals divided standard that is passing as the agreed-upon norm. I keep searching the Bible – or any holy book – to see where the prophet recommends checking immigration status before treating someone decently. I haven’t found the Book of Joe Wilson in any of those religious writings. Of course, I am a Unitarian Universalist and may not have access to the secret exhortations to help only your own kind. Me, I think Jesus and the other honored holy people from different traditions would cry out against the false focus on residency status.

From the secular side, the battle cry reform is “Health Care is a Human Right”. Human. Not a right of citizenship. Not a reward for conforming to laws. A human right.

American Flag, parent and childSo, why is it acceptable to people coming from any perspective to exclude illegal aliens from getting treatment when they are in need?

And, when politicians talk about not treating illegal aliens, did I miss the exception for caring for children whose parents brought them to the country? No, I don’t think so. We really don’t want to “reward” any human being for needing medical care while they are in our country, if they came here secretly to pick our crops or do other scut work. We don’t want to reward their children, either. So, if the swine flu hits an illegal family, I suppose that we’re expecting that parents go back to their country of origin with their ill babies?

Sorry, I am not prepared to let children die or suffer because their parents snuck them across a political division. In fact, I am not up for letting anyone rot in the gutter when they’re sick or go without treatment for accidents. Not adults, not criminals, no one.

Moreover, liberals are being stupid when we let ourselves debate the red herring of caring for illegal aliens. Do you think that Joe “You Lie” Wilson will vote for health care reform if he’s convinced no illegal aliens will benefit? Really?

Basic health care is something we should offer all humans in the country.

Health care reform opponents have endless opportunities to divide and conquer. The issue is complex and liberals are lousy at sound bites.

I think we’ve lost the issue of universal care because we’ve senselessly jumped aboard the anti-immigrant train. This loss a crack in health care reform that is senseless, and which I hope is not structural or symptomatic of the reformers' lack of cohesion.

Fixing the nation’s porous borders is a valid need. But, excluding sick people from getting care is not immigration reform, it isn’t health care reform, and it isn’t liberal. It isn’t moral.