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of San Francisco
Attacks on Healthcare for Immigrants

This is a resolution that a Gray Panther member is bringing to the American Public Health Association 2004 Convention:

The American Public Health Association,

Noting with alarm an upsurge of legal moves over the past year that would imperil the healthcare of undocumented immigrants, specifically:

FIRST: Introduction of H.R. 3722, Rohrabacher (Calif), requiring Emergency Room workers to fingerprint or photograph undocumented immigrant patients and report them to Homeland Security for deportation proceedings, as a condition for hospitals to receive new federal funds for undocumented immigrant care. The measure was defeated. (1)

SECOND: The attempt of the California organizers who promoted Proposition 187 in 1994 to introduce a "Save our State" initiative denying non-emergency health care to undocumented immigrants and requiring public employees to report immigration violations. The signature campaign failed. (2)

THIRD: Introduction of a Center for Medicare and Medicaid regulation that hospitals must collect immigration information in their Emergency Rooms to qualify for federal funds for uncompensated care. The regulation was rescinded after widespread protests by hospitals. (3)

FOURTH: A suit by the Friends of Immigration Law Enforcement against Los Angeles County for paying for immigrants' healthcare instead of recovering treatment costs from the patients' sponsors. The suit was rejected by the court. (4)

FIFTH: A suit by ProEnglish, The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, and The Pacific Legal Foundation against the Health and Human Services requirement that hospitals provide translation services to receive federal payments. The matter is still in court. (5)

SIXTH: Cancellation of Colorado's Presumptive (Medicaid) Eligibility program which had allowed pregnant women to receive prenatal care immediately while their Medicaid applications were being processed. The entire program was eliminated because about half of women granted Presumptive Eligibility were later found to be ineligible by immigration status. (6)

SEVENTH: Arizona's Proposition 200 that withholds healthcare and other social services from undocumented immigrants and makes it a crime for state employees not to report undocumented immigrants using state services. This ballot initiative will be voted on November 2, 2004. (7), and

Noting that that all of these measures would endanger the health of both undocumented immigrants and the general public by making undocumented immigrants fearful of seeking healthcare or reducing their access, and that APHA has already taken clear positions against measures that would decrease use of health facilities by any immigrants (8-13), or decrease use of emergency facilities (14), and

Noting that that many of these measures would take health workers from their proper duties and force them into duties of law enforcement and homeland security, risking subordination of public health priorities, which APHA has already taken a position against (15), and

Therefore the American Public Health Association calls upon its Executive Board to initiate a publicity campaign, via press releases and press conferences directed to the general public, colleagues, and lawmakers, in which APHA

(1) identifies a trend of growing attack on immigrant healthcare,

(2) deplores and warns against measures like these as an attack on the health of immigrants and citizens alike, and

(3) deplores and warns against measures like these as an attack on the organized structure of public health, and

(4) urges health workers to not co-operate or comply with such measures which demand their participation,

(5) pledges APHA support and urges health workers to support any other health workers who are disciplined for failure to comply with such measures.


"House Defeats Bill To Require Doctors To Report Undocumented Immigrants in Their Care", California Healthline, May 19, 2005

"Supporters of Ballot Initiative To Restrict Services To Undocumented Immigrants Short 200,000 Signatures", California Healthline, April 1, 2004
"Washington Post Examines Administration Abandonment of Policy on Immigration Status Inquiries" California Healthline, October 5, 2004

"Judge rejects suit on immigrants' health care in LA County," San Jose Mercury News, September 14, 2004,

"Lawsuit Challenges Translator Requirement at Hospitals Receiving Federal Funds," Kaiser Family Foundation Daily Health Policy Report, August 31, 2004,

"Prenatal Care is the Latest Cut for Illegal Immigrants", San Francisco Chronicle, October 18, 2004,

"Discontent over Illegals in Arizona", Christian Science Monitor, October 20, 2004,

Ensuring Access to Health Services for
Undocumented Immigrants, 9401

Public Health Consideration Related to Undocumented Persons, 7833

Avoiding the Public Health Consequences of Anti-Immigrant Racism, 8223

Immigration Policies Related to Communicable Diseases, 9013

Opposition to Anti-Immigrant Statutes, 9501

Protection of the Health of Resident Immigrants in the United States, 2001-23

The Denial of Emergency Care to Uninsured Patients, 8704

Sustaining the Independence and Effectiveness of Public Health While Responding to Terrorism, 2002-01(LB)