U.S. Hispanics riled over immigrants’ healthcare exclusion

September 18, 2009

By Tim Gaynor

President Barack Obama’s signature battle to overhaul the United States’ $2.5 trillion healthcare industry to extend coverage and lower costs for Americans has met fierce opposition from Republicans.

But a move by Democrat backers to exclude 12 million illegal immigrants from buying health coverage and restrict the participation of authorized migrants has drawn the ire of U.S. Hispanics — a bloc that overwhelmingly turned out to vote for Obama in last year’s election.

Hispanic lawmakers and activists are riled by the bill pushed in the U.S. Senate by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, which denies illegal immigrants the option to buy health insurance and places a five-year wait period on legal immigrants before they can access health benefits.

“When we effectively bar the immigrant community from buying private insurance, we force them further into the shadows of our society, and we relegate them to emergency room care ­at the highest cost to taxpayers,” Rep. Luis Gutierrez, an Illinois Democrat, told a conference call with reporters this week.

Obama has so far been popular with U.S. Hispanics. His backing for comprehensive immigration reform, which seeks to allow millions of illegal immigrants in good standing a chance to pay fines and become citizens, helped win him two-thirds of the Latino vote in last November’s election.

But activists say the push to exclude undocumented workers from paying for healthcare — even for their U.S. born children — is testing support for Obama among Latinos, who make up 15 percent of the population and 9 percent of the electorate.

“The Latino vote was based on promises that a new administration would lead us out of the darkness and finally bring about immigration reform,” said Lorena Colin of the Mexican American Coalition for Immigration Reform, a Chicago-based pro-immigrant grassroots group.

“Instead, we are seeing the administration allowing undocumented immigrants to become scapegoats and the targets of widespread derision and hate in the healthcare debate,” she added.

Reverend Luis Cortés, Jr., meanwhile, the president of a prominent Hispanic evangelical network Esperanza said he was disillusioned with the Democrats, and warned that Hispanics voters would punish lawmakers who denied immigrants care in the midterm Congressional elections in 2010.

“All we can do at this point is look at each local election, one by one, and punish those individuals-regardless of their party-who deny rights to legal immigrants and children, as well as the poorest in our nation, the undocumented,” he said.


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Robert, what have you got against Americans? They built this country. They’ve paid enormous amounts of taxes over their lives. What’s the thing Robert? Exploiting illegal aliens, are we? Why do you feel it neccessary to attack Americans in their own nation? I’m just curious. Do think Mexicans, for example, have a problem with Mexicans in their own nation?

Posted by The Redskin Redneck | Report as abusive

Illegal aliens come here because they simply want to and they cannot or will not do it the LEGAL way. Illegal aliens only have themselves to blame and should receive no consideration. If their families are being separated, who’s fault is that? They knew the consequences before they decided to ignore our immigration laws.

Those who come here illegally, steal our IDs and ignore our laws have already demonstrated they lack the honesty and decency to ever become American citizens. They have NO right to be in our country demanding anything. We owe them nothing.

Posted by DontTreadOnMe | Report as abusive

All these hateful Right Wingers want people always to suffer. They are so resentful of all they deem as ‘Others’ and have made the US a mean spirited place for even us natives to live in.

What do they want, that a kid without proper papers that gets hit by a car to do what? Just die? Would they want Mexico to do that same thing to themselves if the same accident happened in say… Cancun to themselves or their kids and they had no insurance at the time? These people need to grow a heart, and to grow a brain, too! From a nation of immigrants it seems that we have grown to become much a nation of soulless thugs.

Posted by Tony Logan | Report as abusive

Always watch what the other hand is doing. Barry Soetoro has already cut deals with the ethnic interest groups. He will deny insurance but will instead legalize everyone to get around it. That includes their relatives back home who will join them via family re-unifacation laws. Add another 60 million people to the total. The goal is to register them 90% democrats to dominate future elections and to assure socialist welfare programs and bigger government.

That’s unless you stop them.

Posted by Jimi | Report as abusive

klass112 said:
“FYI,all white people here are immigrants,because they came here and illegally took the country from the native americans.” —————————————–

The vast majority of white Americans were born in the United States, which means they became Americans by birth. Because of this fact, these Americans are not, and never were, immigrants.

Posted by bartlebee | Report as abusive

David Morovan said:
“Illegal immigrants living in the US have become essential to the economy as they fill low-wage jobs that many of us legal folks aren’t willing to do. Regardless of their status they are still consumers so their purchases are subject to sales tax and they still pay for many services, such as insurance, rent etc.,” ————————————————————-
You are wrong. Illegal aliens aren’t essential to the U.S. economy. WORKERS are essential to the U.S. economy. And these essential workers don’t have to be illegal aliens. Millions of foreigners from around the world would love to come here legally and fill these low-wage jobs. These legal immigrants would then become consumers here and would then buy things and pay sales tax, pay income taxes, pay rent, buy cars, buy insurance, etc.

Posted by bartlebee | Report as abusive

Why make it personal and blame Hispanics or illegal immigrants?
Just because your governments cant provide you with good health care, protect your borders or prosecute criminals doesn’t mean you should blame those trying to make a new life for themselves.
Where would you be without their slave-labor??
Imagine if Chinese workers got paid fair wages, the price of everything you consume would go up 10 fold over night!
Say goodbye to the American dream…

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

Crackdown on all undocumented persons in the US and we’ll see who takes those jobs. Putting all the patriotic rhetoric and the predominant xenophobia seen in these posts, it is proven that these people are vital to many small businesses. Yes we have immigration statuses and agencies delegated the task of protecting our borders but let’s consider the vast extent of that line. It is impossible to make this 100% nonporous!

Posted by Dave Morovan | Report as abusive

Don’t let illegal immigrants have free health care. “Illegal” means that they have broken our laws, are not paying taxes to support these programs, and should not be entitled to participate. In my opinion, they should be treated like any other criminal that has broken the law. Arrest, detain, and punish. Punish then by sending them back to their countries of origin and make them do it right. If they cant do it right the second time, put them in jail. There are lots of “legal” immigrants. They have worked hard to legally come into this country. Those that come “Illegally” are criminals. Pure and simple.

Posted by james | Report as abusive

What is it about the word “illegal” that is so hard for a number of Hispanics to understand? There are rules and procedures in place to gain legal status. If the US adopted the same immigration policy as Mexico, every last illegal immigrant would be either in prison or deported, or worse. (Just ask Guatamalans and Costa Ricans who try to sneak into Mexico on their way to the US!)

I’m tired of people smokescreening this issue into a matter of race. No. It’s about right and wrong and adhering to laws.

Posted by Mike H. | Report as abusive

Dont forget that Obama said he had a plan that would make all the illegals in America Legal. Im sure he can do that with a stroke of his pen. By the time he is done, none will be “illegal” anymore.

This will be one more way that Obama will disregard the American voice and screw America over again! His track record so far is pretty bad!

Posted by Charles | Report as abusive

Treat the “illegal” as you would treat your family.

- Posted by Robert Garza


guess what illegal – your kind has taken jobs from both of my kids and now my grandson can not get a job, cuz the bosses want the mexicans that they can treat like slave and dont want Americans

go home mexicans – my kids and grandkids can not pay your way any longer

It is all about the kids – the American kids – illegals go home and let the American kids work the jobs you steal at slave wages and then want me and my kids/grandkids to pay your welfare

Posted by Former Democrat | Report as abusive

Big D:

Your pal who hires mostly illegals ought to be horsewhipped! I’ll bet he lives in a real nice home and drives a terrifically overpriced car. Meanwhile, his workers live 10 to 15 in an apartment and share a car.

As far as offering health insurance to his employees goes,,,He offered them a chance to pay through the nose out of their own empty pockets for something that isn’t worth buying in the first place.

Before we erect a monument in honor of this employer, perhaps we should take a good look at the Americans he’s discriminated against to become wealthier and more comfortable.

Posted by Unemployed for too long | Report as abusive

If the 20 million are given amnesty, they will then be able to bring in at least 20 million more of their family members through chain migration.—-Once they are citizens, the Democrats will make sure that they are registered to vote ASAP.——Once they are registered to vote, they take over our politics/elections.—-Once they take over our politics/elections, do you really think that they will be concerned about protecting YOUR rights/opportunities?? What about those of your children/grandchildren??—-What is going to be left for you?? What is going to be left for your children/grandchildren??—-Join millions of US citizens from throughout the country, by joining this FREE site NOW—-www.numbersusa.com

Posted by Bren | Report as abusive

Are regular hard-working Hispanic-Americans “riled” over this OR the pro-illegal alien, anti-American worker, ethnocentric groups upset? Luis Gutierrez is a well-known member of the latter. Shame on him.

American of all backgrounds soundly reject “comprehensive immigration reform” (mass amesty) and more benefits for those who have and continue to spit on our laws.

Posted by Steve | Report as abusive

Illegal aliens are destroying the very fabric of our society. Oure government and corrupt business continue to encourage by rewarding criminal behavior. Boycott all businesses that hire these people. INSIST that you are served by citizens before you allow services to your home or property. I am sick of seeing a truckload of 10 people show up to a modest house for landscaping. Do not go to Wendys or McDonalds if the staff is all illegal. Do something other then whine and we CAN reverse this!

Posted by Don | Report as abusive

What is amazing to me that here in Los Angelous there has not been any sign of reaction to this supposed exclusion.The latino community are normally very vocal when news like this hits the headlines.The only conclusion is they are keeping quiet,not rocking the democratic boat,because there a several local politicians who have relied on the illegal vote to get them elected.Congresswomen Sanches is a strong applicant for them so are probably leaving it in her hands.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

My kids can’t get a job because every single teenager job is filled with illegals. 100%. No wonder teenage unemployment is at all time high of 25%.

And with the illegal workers, WE have to pay for their healthcare, kids education, infrastructure, bi-lingual translation.

Right now, there are still 750,000 illegals crossing the border. Sure it’s down a little from the million, but what jobs are these people doing. The jobs argument is getting old.

Starting to seem like they’re coming over to set-up camp in your nice home – since it’s nicer than theirs.

Posted by Freddie Valero | Report as abusive

I call BS. Most hispanic Americans I know are against illegal immigration. They see their taxes going up. They see the urban blight illegal aliens bring with them to our neighborhoods. This is nothing but rhetoric and propaganda from the pro amnesty groups. If you think it was tough trying to pass amnesty before, just you wait and see what happens in this economy. All this talk about the huge growing numbers of hispanics is overblown. There are 15% hispanics in the US. There are 12% blacks, There are 66% whites in the US, by far the largest percentage of the population! Americans are no longer listening to groups screaming racism towards illegal aliens. They break our laws and drain resources meant for citizens. They don’t belong here. GO HOME!

Posted by Stephen | Report as abusive

Please, Please Please let’s be just a little opened minded concerning this issue. I am simply an American with family who came to this country in the early 1700″s. I’m sure I would qualify as the Good American that so many of you seem to be talking about. However, I am appalled at the knee jerk reactions of many of these posts.

For the past six years I have voluntarily taught English to an undocumented Mexican family. I am truly impressed with their family values, work ethic, honesty, respect for others and immense desire to become part of our (let me remind you ) MELTING POT.

I would like to correct a few items represented as factual, which are NOT!

1. MOST DO PAY TAXES. Yes…our government gives undocumented workers a government issued number called an ITIN number. They are given this number for the purpose ONLY of PAYING TAXES. My husband has helped many undocumented individuals file income taxes using this number.

2. They pay into Social Security which they can never hope to use. If you are working for a large hotel chain or a fast food restaurant you receive a paycheck with all the same taxes being taken out as documented workers.(Americans)

3. They buy clothes, eat in restaurants, have parties, buy groceries, pay rent, pay utilities, etc. just like the rest of US. Our economy does not reject their money.

4. Our well known banks and mortgage companies have let them open checking and saving accounts. Well known Real Estate firms have allowed them to buy houses….mainly because they rarely default. How do they do this you ask. The answer is that they are encouraged to do so using their ITIN Number. Yes the same number that the government explicitly states is only to be used for PAYING TAXES. The undocumented population is a lucrative group from which to draw customers. Do you really think Home Depot uses bi-lingual signs because no Hispanics buy from them?

5. Yes…when a child is born here the government will allow health care for that child on a sliding scale. Do they use it? Of course….they have no option to purchase health care because they are undocumented. The parents cannot use this sliding scale because they have no legal standing. They must go to an emergency room. I personally watched as one of my students handed over $800.00 for a laproscopy and she was happy to do it because she needed the procedure. If they could purchase health care believe me my group of 20 undocumented friends and their friends would do so.

I could go on and on..but I think I’ve made the point. In many many ways we encourage them while at the same time make life very difficult. For example right now it’s become extremely difficult for them to get a driver’s license. So what happens…they must drive to work…they get stopped and go to court to pay a local judge $200.00 and have him say”You need to get a driver’s license” knowing that it’s impossible. They get stopped again and repeat the performance with the local court.

The bottom line is that THEY ARE NOT GOING HOME TO GET IN LINE!. If there had been a LINE they would have been in it to come here legally. The LINE doesn’t exist for you unless you are here to attend a university, have a PHD etc.

It would cost us so much less in the long run to bring them out and give them legal status. IT WILL BE DONE… so why not NOW?

Posted by susan | Report as abusive

The funny thing is, you’re ALL illegal immigrants.. effectively. Your country was founded on illegal immigration, imperialism, genocide, treason, civil war, racism and slavery.. What is a true American?? White?

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

My father owns an Irrigation and Landscape company in Texas. He makes sure they are all documented, even if a social security card is easy to fake, and pays them well. In fact, everyone of his employees makes well above the poverty line, and they work very hard to earn their money. I’ve asked them questions about why don’t the guys at our local “Stop n’ Go ” have jobs. The simple answer they give me is that ‘they are just lazy and don’t want to work and they’ve told me that more than half of those guys aren’t from Mexico. If Amnesty happens there should be certain things in place for this to occur, especially the approval of American Citizens. First of all, the border should be secured with a wall and a new department of the government who oversees it. That include giving aid to migrants who’ve crossed deserts and need medical attention and other services. This part is the most important to have the approval of any border wall by the Latino community. Secondly, once the movement between Mexico and the US is tightly secure, nothing goes unseen, it will encourage documentation of illegal aliens and police, in Texas specifically, can ask someone they pull over or meet what there immigration status is at the current time. America is a melting pot of immigrants from all around the world, but cutting down crime and knowing that one country doesn’t have full right way to enter our country illegally are important issues as well.

Posted by Shawn | Report as abusive

I’ve been getting mutiple calls concerning health care for legal immigrants as well as their children and an offer to connect me with John D. Rockefeller’s office. I took the option, but got a recorded message that the site was busy and to leave my name and number.

The health care bill will cost billions, if not trillions. Right now I believe the main issue would be to cover those who cannot get coverage because of pre-existing conditions and reform that does not allow insurance companies to cancel a person after they have an illness and to do away with caps.

My concern is that I’m being targeted because of the Spanish surname (husband’s relatives immigrated in the 40′s via Ellis Island & standing in line & doing it the right way. Targeting only the Spanish population & then referring them to Rockefeller’s office will skew the pubic’s opinion.

I’m waiting for Rockfeller’s office to call me, but if not I will email or write them by snail mail to make sure that my opinion is included. I’d urge others to do the name thing with their representatives. As far as I know, Mexico provides healthcare (according to a Lou Dobbs report) – let Mexico pay for their citizens.

Posted by WV Spanish surname | Report as abusive

Yes, they pay taxes. But, as my accountant husband knows, they use 15 deductions and get it all PLUS more back. They are now driving Hummers & BMW’s with beautiful wheels and buying nice houses in my neighborhood. Their job is to sit in the front yard in lawn chairs everyday while I drive my dumpy car to the train to got to work. They can afford nicer homes than mine without a job? There are constant stabbings and gang graffiti everywhere. This used to be a nice place but not now. The police are afraid to even mess with the Mafia but you hear bits and pieces from those who know and it’s not good…. WE are paying for this with our taxes and our souls. It needs to stop NOW.

Posted by Alldonewithit | Report as abusive

True, they do get some breaks on taxes, but let’s not start generalizing a huge populations by saying they “drive BMW’s, etc” because they don’t pay as much in health care. You can not say it is ONLY the illegal immigrant population, because, as a banker, I see many nationalities, many accounts, many checks, and many of these from people I know personally. Some of these people, legal residents mind you, get help on their health care, come in bragging about how they were able to “get it over” on providers, and have the money sitting in their accounts to afford it, while others have to file bancruptcy because of high health care costs they can’t afford. Also, we need to keep in mind, these illegals are out there working, and most times are working the jobs the rest of us don’t want to do. They work ridiculous hours EVERYDAY…no matter what the weather, what the storm, to go make peanuts for them and their families, not only here, but also their home countries. And you weigh the options…hmmmm pay $300-$600 to become legal or put food on the table for my family and I? I think we often times forget that this country was built on a dream for ALL, that we became the diverse nation we are because of immigrants coming over to live out their dreams. I am blessed and priviledged to be a Puerto Rican American because when my grandparents came over from PR, they were still considered Americans. I see their struggles, what they went through to give my family a better life, even still being technically American. I know what my fiance went through coming over from EL Salvador 13 years ago, his family working in the states for years, leaving the kids behind, just to make money to legally bring them to the states. It’s so easy to spit out laws, regulations, etc., until you have seen it yourself, faced it yourself, lived with it yourself!

Posted by JEM | Report as abusive

I would like to propose an idea. Since lately the teaparty and Republican shave been bashing hispanics or all races.In addition undermining our contibutions in this country which is quite significant. We should have aday without hispanics day. A day where no hispanics goes to work. We march the street all over the country tating how impoetant we are for the mere survival of this country.In order to state the important piece we make in this country. If this tea part and Republican think thery are big and powerfull they have not seen anything yet. We own more smalol buisness we proivide an essential balnce to minoritie representation in this country our vote and voice counts. Lets think about this people this is the year we let our voices heard. Imagine and a day without hispanics in the workforce. What would happen. We are strong and smart ethinic which is very politacly inclined. Lets think about it.

Posted by Elsie4latinos | Report as abusive