Injustice in America: Obama Administration’s Arizona Lawsuit Shortsighted

15 Jul

by Ben Reiser

On July 6, the Obama administration sued the state of Arizona because of it’s new immigration law, which forces immigrants to carry their alien registration documents all the time, and allows police to interrogate people if there is reason to suspect they are in the United States illegally.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, a Republican, said that the law’s passage was a result of Washington’s

A view of the Mexican-American border. In order to decrease illegal alien flow to America, I believe we must increase border control and allow Arizona to pass their illegal immigration law. | Photo courtesy of

incompetence in addressing the issue of border control, and that it was left to the states to act on it.

National debate has sparked since the law’s passage on April 23, and the Obama administration has shown clear objection against the law, even going so far as to call it “misguided.”

The law is intended to go into effect on July 29, but the lawsuit seeks a preliminary injunction to prevent the implementation of the law.

However, a Pew Research Center poll shows that 59 percent of voters support the law. Also, a July 8 Rasmussen report shows that 61 percent even favor passage of a law like Arizona’s in their own state.

I believe that the Obama administration’s decision to sue the state of Arizona is shortsighted and ineffective. It also makes me question how committed to national security the Obama administration actually is.

I understand concern over civil rights in our country, but this law does not infringe any civil liberties—in fact, it supports them. I am confused; people have said that the law violates the rights of illegal aliens in this country. I must ask, what rights do they have? They are here illegally!

While I find many problems with illegal immigrants in this country, one of the greatest, I think, is their effect on the American healthcare system.


First of all, because of their unlawful entrance to the country, people who illegally penetrate the American border do not undergo medical screening to assure that they are free from contagious or deadly diseases, and the risk is that the swelling population of illegal aliens can set off a resurgence of contagious diseases that have been totally or nearly eradicated by the American public health system.

For example, in 1995, an outbreak of tuberculosis spread to 36 students in an Alexandria, Virginia high school when an illegal foreign exchange student transferred to the school.


Also, by preventing the Arizonan law from going into effect, the Obama administration will ultimately be forcing more hardworking American taxpayers to pay the bills for healthcare.

According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, 43 percent of non-citizens in America have no health insurance, totaling 9.4 million uninsured immigrants. The majority of those uninsured immigrants are illegal, and account for 15 percent of the total uninsured population in America.

One of the frequent highway signs along the border of America and Mexico warning drivers of illegal immigrants crossing. | Photo courtesy of

Free medical care for illegal immigrants puts an enormous financial strain on both American taxpayers and the healthcare community. When uninsured illegal immigrants receive medical care and are unable to pay for those services, the billions of dollars of unreimbursed medical care is funded by taxpayers.

In fact, a June 2006 Gallup poll showed that 66% of Americans think illegal immigrants cost taxpayers too much by using public services like healthcare.


Another important reason as to why the lawsuit is ineffective in the aspect of healthcare is because it will delay doctors from treating legal American patients who need critical medical care.

In 2003, Dr. Paul Stander, the medical director of the Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona, said his hospital treated up to 15 illegal immigrants a day, compared to “just a few a month” in 1998.

“As a result,” he said, “the wait for intensive care beds can last several days, and some emergency room patients can wait as long as 24 hours to see a doctor, and plans to upgrade equipment have been delayed.”

Part of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act passed by Congress in 1986 requires most doctors in America to treat a patient for an emergency medical condition regardless of citizenship, legal status, or ability to pay. But because most illegal immigrants do not have health insurance and are unable to pay for their own medical care, some of America’s premiere emergency medical facilities have been forced to close due to bankruptcy: 84 California hospitals and 77 Arizona medical facilities closed their doors in 2003 chiefly for this reason.

The New York Times reported in an April 2003 issue, “The American Hospital Association estimated that in 2000, the 24 southernmost counties from Texas to California accrued $832 million in unpaid medical care, a quarter of which was directly attributable to illegal immigrants.”


Another reason that the lawsuit will have a negative effect on healthcare in America is because illegal immigrants take up precious spots on organ transplant lists, resulting in delaying or preventing American citizens from receiving necessary organs.

In the late 1980s, Ana Puente, a Mexican-born infant with a liver disorder, was illegally smuggled into the United States by her aunt expressly to seek medical care. Puente underwent two liver transplants at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center as a child in 1989 and a third in 1998, each paid for by the state of California.

When she reached the age of 21 in 2007, Puente aged out of her state-funded health insurance and consequently of her ability to continue treatment at UCLA. In early 2008, her liver began to fail again and she was hospitalized at County-USC Medical Center, with her clinical course irreversible.

However, in March of 2008, she learned that if she notified U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that she was in the country illegally, state health officials might grant her full Medi-Cal coverage. Puente followed through with the risky procedure and had her benefits restored; she underwent her liver transplant later in 2008. Puente shrugged it off saying that UCLA should take care of her for the rest of her life, “because I’ve been there since I was a baby.”

While Ana Puente’s liver disorder is unfortunate, every time she received a liver transplant, one less American citizen received a potentially life-saving liver.

Larry Gonzalez, a U.S. citizen with Hepatitis C who is on the transplant waiting list for a new liver, says, “Why do we have to get in line behind immigrants, foreigners, when we have enough people here [in America] to fill the hospitals?”

According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, in the state of California alone, nearly 3,700 people are waiting for livers, and the average cost of a liver transplant and first-year follow-up is nearly $490,000. So why should American taxpayers come up with $490,000 to pay for an illegal alien to receive a liver in the United States when it means an American citizen may die as a result?


Healthcare is and should remain a right of hardworking American citizens, and the Obama administration’s decision to sue Arizona over its immigration law will set off a resurgence of illegal immigration, thus belittling the rights we have as citizens of the United States of America. America is one of the greatest countries in the world to live in, as our Constitution grants us such amazing rights, and obviously, people want to partake in it. But in order to have such a gift, one must pay a price, and enter this country legally.

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