The status of undocumented immigrants/illegal alien is a hot topic not only for the United States but for the world in general. We have seen across the world the issue of undocumented immigrants and migrant searching for opportunities, seeking asylum, or simply searching for safety. With this said, the importance of policies surrounding health care has become prevalent. These barriers for undocumented immigrants go beyond policy and range from financial limitations, to discrimination and fear of deportation. Health care for undocumented immigrants in the Unites states is the topic that I will discuss and provide a potential policy change.
Definition and description of the issue
The definition of an illegal immigrant or illegal alien is defined by the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952. If a foreign national enter the U.S. without following the legal immigration process to enter and remain in the country, are considered to be illegal immigrants. This also means that anyone who was not born in the U.S. or parents is not U.S. citizens will be considered an immigrant. Illegal immigrants cannot vote, receive social services from federally funded programs or social security benefits. (McFadyen, 2017). So, the issue is if they are illegal immigrants in the U.S. illegally and have not made the proper steps to become a citizen then why they should have the right to medical care in the U.S. but what is not look upon is the fact that health care is viewed as a society as a whole, and you cannot just declare that one part of the society is denied the right to health care. The thing is undocumented immigrants compare to their counter parts- legal immigrants are not afforded protection and programs, however they still get diabetes, have heart disease, break bones, etc. just like everyone else. And their health needs are just as important if we care about public health as a whole.
Exploration of the background of the issue
Undocumented immigrants living inside of the United States are the largest group of the population without health insurance. We have approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. and a third of the 49.1 million of uninsured individuals in the United States are illegal immigrants. One of the issues surrounding undocumented immigrants and health care is who should pay for it? Medical help for illegal immigrants is prohibited under the Patient Protection and Affordable care Act, which was signed into law to make health insurance more affordable for low-income Americans. But the thing is we already pay for illegal immigrants that might seek medical treatment. Through our tax dollars, so what would be the difference. We also have to think about when illegal immigrants come here to work they still pay some form of taxes. Such taxes include, state, local, income, property and sales taxes. The 11 millions of undocumented immigrants pay 8% of their incomes to state and local taxes. It is said that undocumented immigrants pay billions, upward of 12 billion each year in taxes. Also, a study performed found that as much as 75% of the undocumented population is believed to pay into the social security system which is a benefit that they wouldn’t even be able to receive unless they become a citizen. (Soergel, 2016). A lot of undocumented immigrants pay these taxes in fear and the hope is that if they pay then they might have a better chance of becoming citizens. So undocumented immigrants are already contributing to taxes to fund health care.