Rhetoric Against Public Charge Law Gets Feverish
Peddling a mixture of victimology and false suppositions, a commentator in the Washington Post claims the Trump administration’s public-charge policy invites “a looming public health crisis.”“Scaring vulnerable populations off public assistance and blocking use of public programs could cost much more in the long run, because neglecting preventive health care and basic medical problems creates chronic and complex medical problems, making patients more expensive to treat down the road,” writes Goleen Samari, a demographer at Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco.To hammer home her specious argument, Ms. Samari props up a racial bogeyman, declaring, “Latino Americans experience more barriers to accessing health care and higher rates of ‘poor mental-health days.’”“Public-health recognizes that anti-immigrant policies are forms of racism,” she concludes.Asking immigrants to be self-sufficient including ensuring that they have the financial ability to take care of their basic and foreseeable health care needs, is neither racist, nor unreasonable. It is simply good public policy, which is why it has been part of our immigration law since 1882.No one is suggesting that the public charge policy would disqualify people who went to a public hospital to get a flu shot or some other vaccination. That is hysteria being whipped up by activists, and they are the ones willing to put immigrants’ health at risk by spreading false information.Ms. Samari’s emotional arguments are yet another way the open-borders lobby infantilizes immigrants. To cite a parallel example:In order to convince illegal aliens to report crimes, Americans are told we need sanctuary policies to assure that police will never, ever, under any circumstance divulge information to ICE. And this claim is consistently made in the absence of any credible evidence that illegal aliens are afraid of state and local law enforcement. In fact, the available evidence suggests that aliens, even those illegally here, aren’t even afraid of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, witness the vocal “undocumented and unafraid” movement.Likewise, Ms. Samari insists that any reasonable enforcement of public charge rules will lead people to avoid vaccination and other routine medical care, resulting in a risk to public health. Implicit in Samari’s warning is the notion that Americans are obligated to pay for the health care needs of all migrants (legal and illegal), while migrants have no obligation to respect the laws of the United States, or – with regard to green card holders – honor the promises they made to be self-sufficient. That is a morally lopsided view that imposes an unfair burden on hardworking Americans, many of whom can’t afford to pay for their own healthcare.Like anyone else, immigrants can and do experience unpredictable health emergencies. What the public charge rule is intended to ensure is that recent arrivals and their sponsors have the financial wherewithal to do what most Americans do, and address their own healthcare and other needs.
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