Impact of Illegal Immigration on the U.S. Health Care System vs. Impact of Legal Immigration/Refugee Claimants on Canada's Health Care System (April 5, 2005)
A recent U.S. research study examines the impact of millions of recently-arrived illegal immigrants on the U.S. health care system. It indicates uncalculated medical costs to the American public of “cheap labour” for certain businesses. Among those costs are competition with and displacement of needy Americans for scarce health care funding; hospital closures; the spread of previously-vanquished diseases; and general degradation of the U.S. health care system.
What has been the effect of dramatically-increased immigration levels on Canada's health care system? asks Immigration Watch Canada. Canadians are aware that health care costs constitute close to half of some provincial budgets. Almost daily, Canadians are also told of long waiting lines for surgical procedures and emergency care. Did these problems exist before high immigration levels were introduced? Is there a cause-effect relationship between high immigration levels and degradation of Canada's health care system? Canadians need to know.
Here are a few more questions that our federal government has to answer:
(1) Did it ever consider the impact of several million new immigrants (the world's largest per capita immigrant impact) on the ability of the country's existing medical infrastructure to handle them?
(2) The federal government likes to blame provincial certification departments for delays in bringing foreign-trained medical personnel into the health care system. It implies that others are at fault. But who should bear the greatest blame: the one who caused the problem or the ones who have to deal with it? For example, did our federal government try each year to bring in sufficient doctors and nurses to care for the large number of new immigrants and refugee claimants simultaneously being brought in? Or, as many Canadians suspect, was the impact of the immigrant and refugee intake mostly ignored?
(3) Have Canadians been forced to compete for scarce health care/emergency care with recent immigrants/refugee claimants because of the lack of federal foresight into this issue? If this has happened, have Canadians been displaced in this competition?
(4) Did the federal government consider that recent immigrants (many of whom came from countries with non-socialized medical systems) might make much more use of the “free” Canadian medical system and consequently drive medicare costs higher more quickly? Has this happened?
(5) How much has the federal government's lack of due diligence in considering high immigration's impact (on the country's health care system) cost Canada?
The following are specific examples of the impact of immigration (primarily illegal) on the American health care system. These effects were noted in a recent (Spring) research paper published by the American Journal of Physicians and Surgeons. Canadians with an attitude contemptuous of the American Medical System should note that the research attributes a decline in the quality of the U.S. system to the extensive abuse of it by millions of illegal immigrants. Canadians should also note that this abuse has been encouraged by the American immigration industry.
(1) Very large numbers of dollars have been drained from federal and state treasuries to pay for health and other care for “anchor babies” born to non-Americans. (Anchor babies are citizens, and instantly qualify for public welfare aid. Between 300,000 and 350,000 anchor babies annually become citizens because of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.The parents are supposed to be “cheap labour” for business. (Note: However, they represent a significant transfer of public funds, normally directed towards needy American citizens, to non-Americans, effectively making the non-citizen labour no longer “cheap”.)
(2) Many hospitals have gone bankrupt and closed. (Note: This has left American-born, especially the poor, with diminished medical options). According to the report, “between 1993 and 2003, 60 California hospitals closed because half their services became unpaid. Another 24 California hospitals verge on closure.” Hospitals in other border areas have been similarly affected. “Under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act of 1985, hospitals are obligated to treat the uninsured without reimbursement.”
(3) “Many illegal aliens harbor fatal diseases that American medicine fought and vanquished long ago, such as drug-resistant tuberculosis, malaria, leprosy, plague, polio, dengue, and Chagas disease.”
(4) A climate of fear has been bred. Fines and other penalties have been levied on physicians and hospitals who, prosecutors believe, have erred in denying emergency treatment to illegals.
(5) A very significant rise has occurred in the number of medically uninsured in the U.S. It is estimated that 43 million have no medical insurance. Between 1/4 and 1/2 of the 43 million are illegal immigrants. The American immigration industry has significantly encouraged illigal immigrants to take full advantage of the American medical system and effectively undermine it.
END OF PRESS RELEASE
The following is the article on the relevant research paper published by the American Journal of Physicians and Surgeons. (Author of research paper: Madeleine Pelner Cosman, medical lawyer and former professor at The City College of New York)
Cristobal Silverio emigrated illegally from Mexico to Stockton, Calif.,
in 1997 to work as a fruit picker.
He brought with him his wife, Felipa, and three children, 19, 12 and 8 –
all illegals. When Felipa gave birth to her fourth child, daughter Flor, the
family had what is referred to as an “anchor baby” – an American citizen
by birth who provided the entire Silverio clan a ticket to remain in the
But Flor was born premature, spent three months in the neonatal
incubator and cost the San Joaquin Hospital more than $300,000. Meanwhile, oldest daughter Lourdes married an illegal alien gave birth to a daughter, too.
Her name is Esmeralda. And Felipa had yet another child, Cristian.
The two Silverio anchor babies generate $1,000 per month in public
welfare funding for the family. Flor gets $600 a month for asthma. Healthy
Cristian gets $400. While the Silverios earned $18,000 last year picking fruit,
they picked up another $12,000 for their two “anchor babies.”
While President Bush says the U.S. needs more “cheap labor” from south
of the border to do jobs Americans aren't willing to do, the case of the
Silverios shows there are indeed uncalculated costs involved in the
importation of such labor – public support and uninsured medical costs.
In fact, the increasing number of illegal aliens coming into the United
States is forcing the closure of hospitals, spreading previously
vanquished diseases and threatening to destroy America's prized health-care system, says a report in the spring issue of the Journal of American Physicians
“The influx of illegal aliens has serious hidden medical consequences,”
writes Madeleine Pelner Cosman, author of the report. “We judge reality
primarily by what we see. But what we do not see can be more dangerous,
more expensive, and more deadly than what is seen.”
According to her study, 84 California hospitals are closing their doors
as a direct result of the rising number of illegal aliens and their
non-reimbursed tax on the system.
“Anchor babies,” the author writes, “born to illegal aliens instantly
qualify as citizens for welfare benefits and have caused enormous rises
in Medicaid costs and stipends under Supplemental Security Income and
In addition, the report says, “many illegal aliens harbor fatal diseases
that American medicine fought and vanquished long ago, such as
drug-resistant tuberculosis, malaria, leprosy, plague, polio, dengue,
and Chagas disease.”
While politicians often mention there are 43 million without health
insurance in this country, the report estimates that at least 25 percent
of those are illegal immigrants. The figure could be as high as 50 percent.
Not being insured does not mean they don't get medical care.
Under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act of 1985,
hospitals are obligated to treat the uninsured without reimbursement.
“Government imposes viciously stiff fines and penalties on any physician
and any hospital refusing to treat any patient that a zealous prosecutor
deems an emergency patient, even though the hospital or physician screened and declared the patient's illness or injury non-emergency,” says the
“But government pays neither hospital nor physician for treatments. In
addition to the fiscal attack on medical facilities and personnel,
EMTALA is a handy truncheon with which to pummel politically unpopular physicians by falsely accusing them of violating EMTALA.”
According to the report, between 1993 and 2003, 60 California hospitals
closed because half their services became unpaid. Another 24 California
hospitals verge on closure, the author writes.
“American hospitals welcome 'anchor babies,'” says the report. “Illegal
alien women come to the hospital in labor and drop their little anchors,
each of whom pulls its illegal alien mother, father, and siblings into
permanent residency simply by being born within our borders. Anchor
babies are citizens, and instantly qualify for public welfare aid: Between
300,000 and 350,000 anchor babies annually become citizens because of the
Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: “All persons born or naturalized in
the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of
the United States and the State wherein they reside.”
Among the organizations directing illegal aliens into America's medical
systems, according to the report, are the Ford Foundation-funded Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the National Immigration Law Center, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the American Bar Association's Commission on Immigration Policy, Practice, and Pro Bono, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, the National Council of La Raza, George Soros's Open Society Institute, the Migration Policy Institute, the National Network for Immigration and Refugee Rights and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Because drug addiction and alcoholism are classified as diseases and
disabilities, the fiscal toll on the health-care system rises.
When Linda Torres was arrested in Bakersfield, Calif., with about $8,500
in small bills in a sack, the police originally thought it was stolen
money, explained the report. It was her Social Security lump sum for her
disability — heroin addiction.
“Today, legal immigrants must demonstrate that they are free of
communicable diseases and drug addiction to qualify for lawful permanent residency green cards,” writes Cosman, a medical lawyer, who formerly taught medical students at the City University of New York. “Illegal aliens simply
cross our borders medically unexamined, hiding in their bodies any number of
Many illegals entering this country have tuberculosis, according to the
“That disease had largely disappeared from America, thanks to excellent
hygiene and powerful modern drugs such as isoniazid and rifampin,” says
the report. “TB's swift, deadly return now is lethal for about 60 percent of
those infected because of new Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis. Until
recently MDR-TB was endemic to Mexico. This Mycobacterium tuberculosis
is resistant to at least two major anti-tubercular drugs. Ordinary TB
usually is cured in six months with four drugs that cost about $2,000. MDR-TB
takes 24 months with many expensive drugs that cost around $250,000 with toxic
side effects. Each illegal with MDR-TB coughs and infects 10 to 30
people, who will not show symptoms immediately. Latent disease explodes later.
TB was virtually absent in Virginia until in 2002, when it spiked a 17
percent increase, but Prince William County, just south of Washington,
D.C., had a much larger rise of 188 percent. Public health officials blamed
immigrants. In 2001 the Indiana School of Medicine studied an outbreak
of MDR-TB, and traced it to Mexican illegal aliens. The Queens, New York,
health department attributed 81 percent of new TB cases in 2001 to
immigrants. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ascribed 42
percent of all new TB cases to 'foreign born' people who have up to
eight times higher incidences apparently, 66 percent of all TB cases coming to
America originate in Mexico, the Philippines and Vietnam.”
Other health threats from illegals include, according to the report:
(a) Chagas disease, also called American trypanosomiasis or “kissing
bug disease,” is transmitted by the reduviid bug, which prefers to bite the
lips and face. The protozoan parasite that it carries, Trypanosoma cruzi,
infects 18 million people annually in Latin America and causes 50,000 deaths.
The disease also infiltrates America's blood supply. Chagas affects blood
transfusions and transplanted organs. No cure exists. Hundreds of blood
recipients may be silently infected.
(b) Leprosy, also known as Hansen's disease, was so rare in America
that in 40 years only 900 people were afflicted. Suddenly, in the past three
years America has more than 7,000 cases of leprosy. Leprosy now is
endemic to northeastern states because illegal aliens and other immigrants
brought leprosy from India, Brazil, the Caribbean and Mexico.
(c) Dengue fever is exceptionally rare in America, though common in
Ecuador, Peru, Vietnam, Thailand, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Mexico.
Recently, according to the report, there was a virulent outbreak of dengue fever
in Webb County, Texas, which borders Mexico. Though dengue is usually not a
fatal disease, dengue hemorrhagic fever routinely kills.
(d) Polio was eradicated from America, but now reappears in illegal
immigrants as do intestinal parasites, says the report.
(e) Malaria was obliterated, but now is re-emerging in Texas.
The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons report includes a strong
prescription for protecting the health of Americans:
(a) Closing America's borders with fences, high-tech security devices
(b) Rescinding the U.S. citizenship of “anchor babies.”
(c) Punishing the aiding and abetting of illegal aliens as a crime.
(d) An end to amnesty programs.