Hospitals are deporting undocumented immigrants while they are unconscious

Via Mother Jones

Via Mother Jones

This is really sickening. The AP is out with an incredible report detailing the stories of undocumented immigrants who were deported by American hospitals, while they were unconscious.

Two of the immigrants profiled, Jacinto Cruz and Jose Rodriguez-Saldana, were unlucky enough to be involved in car accidents and their punishment was being flown to Mexico while still in a coma.  The kicker is, they had health insurance, because they had solid jobs, but without documentation proving legal immigrant status, the hospital took it upon themselves to deport Cruz and Rodriguez-Saldana.

Via Talking Points Memo:

The men had health insurance from jobs at one of the nation’s largest pork producers. But neither had legal permission to live in the U.S., nor was it clear whether their insurance would pay for the long-term rehabilitation they needed.

So Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines took matters into its own hands: After consulting with the patients’ families, it quietly loaded the two comatose men onto a private jet that flew them back to Mexico, effectively deporting them without consulting any court or federal agency.

When the men awoke, they were more than 1,800 miles away in a hospital in Veracruz, on the Mexican Gulf Coast.

Hundreds of immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally have taken similar journeys through a little-known removal system run not by the federal government trying to enforce laws but by hospitals seeking to curb high costs. A recent report compiled by immigrant advocacy groups made a rare attempt to determine how many people are sent home, concluding that at least 600 immigrants were removed over a five-year period, though there were likely many more. 

It’s bad enough that we split up families and frequently separate young children from their parents instead of having sensible immigration policy. But the thought of shipping a person in a coma back to Mexico without their knowledge is horribly inhumane. Undocumented immigrants are people, not cargo.

What kind of sense does it make to treat the undocumented without any sense of humanity and dignity?

America has to do better but with our dysfunctional Congress, who can’t even get gun safety legislation passed with 90% public support, my optimism is at an all time low that anything can get done on the immigration front that will fix a problem like this one.

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One Comment

  1. Posted April 24, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    I’m kind of confused by this as it says the hospital consulted with their families. Why would their families agree to this unless they thought there was some benefit or practical reason for it? Confused.

    This is a perfect example of how the privatization of health care in the US is wrecking havoc. Universal health care for all is a must for any nation to truly be great.

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