Healthcare Reform: Illegal Immigrant Debate

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Illegal immigration was once again thrust into the national spotlight during the now infamous speech given by President Barack Obama on health care reform speech given last week has become the focus of intense scrutiny. Republican Representative, Joe Wilson's outburst, "You lie!" is the center of the attention. Wilson was addressing the President's assertion that illegal immigrants would not, under the health care bill, be able to access the government health care program.

The White House says that Obama doesn't want them to be able to buy insurance and spokesman Robert Gibbs said the White House will work with lawmakers to create language that enforces that. "Illegal immigrants would not be allowed to access the exchange that is set up," Gibbs said.

The controversy that led to Wilson's outburst was stems from the Republicans' contention that illegal immigrants would be able to get federally funded health coverage under the bill - but the bill expressly prohibits federal subsidies for illegals. Critics note, however, there are no expressly written enforcement mechanisms or language on how verification would proceed.

"Without a verification requirement it's essentially like posting a 55-mph speed limit and not having any highway patrol on the road," said Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation of Immigration Reform.

It seems this is just another step in the on-going debate over illegal immigration and ways to crack down. Already, employers have been targeted and are being audited and fined for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants.


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