A true conundrum (AKA Arizona, Hospitals and Illegal Immigrants)

At first, I was going to get up in arms about Arizona’s recent attack against illegal immigrants. Now, I’m more mixed.

There is a proposal to require hospitals to report illegal immigrants to the authorities. This could easily go against the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, which requires that everyone be treated, regardless of citizenship. But, if they are initially treating them in emergency situations, there is nothing wrong with then having to report a criminal to the authorities.

Really, what this comes down to are two things:

1) Do illegal immigrants deserve non-emergency treatment? Will this prevent people from going in for treatment, only causing further costs when they get emergency treatment?

2) What are hospitals required to take in terms of identification? What systems would need to be in place for them to check records? What would happen to the hospital/employees if they didn’t report it? How would the State of Arizona know, anyway?

As much as we can question what causes illegal immigration or if we are enabling it, it remains a crime. I imagine that other criminals would be reported by the hospital to authorities, so I don’t see the difference in this case, provided it isn’t an undue burden on the hospital to check ID. As always, what we really need to do is deal with immigration in a serious way.

What say you?

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