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Religious leaders seek healthcare for illegal immigrants

Immighealth

Calling access to healthcare a moral and spiritual imperative, Los Angeles faith leaders held a religious service and launched a phone bank Friday to urge congressional leaders to include illegal immigrants in any healthcare reform plan.


The question of whether illegal immigrants should have access to a government-sponsored health insurance marketplace has provoked heated debate and criticism of President Obama’s proposals from both the left and right. Obama’s position that his plans do not include illegal immigrants has been attacked as dishonest by some conservatives and as a betrayal by some liberals.

 “If we were politicians, this would be definitely political suicide to come out for healthcare reform for those who are undocumented,” said Father Roland Lozano, pastor of Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church, known as La Placita, near Olvera Street. “But we’re doing it because we believe ... it’s what God wants us to do.”


Father Richard Estrada, who heads an immigrant services organization known as Jovenes Inc., said inclusion of all immigrants was consistent with biblical teachings that all people are children of God who must care for society’s most vulnerable.

And the Rev. Will Wauters, vicar of the Church of the Epiphany, an Episcopal church in Lincoln Heights, said inclusion of all immigrants would benefit the proposed health insurance marketplace by expanding it with those who numerous studies have shown are younger and healthier than native-born Americans.

According to a July 2009 study in the American Journal of Public Health, even immigrants with health insurance use less medical care than U.S.-born citizens and are less likely to suffer from arthritis, diabetes, coronary heart disease and other chronic health conditions.

The Roman Catholic Church, the nation’s largest religious denomination with 67 million members, considers healthcare a basic human right, a position the church has articulated since 1963, when it was included in a papal encyclical by Pope John XXIII. As a result, the church believes that illegal immigrants should be included in any healthcare reform plan, according to Kathy Saile, director of domestic social development with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“If healthcare is a basic right, you can’t start cutting people out,” she said.


But some religious conservatives disagree. Richard Land, who heads the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the 16-million-member Southern Baptist Convention, said biblical exhortations to care for the poor apply to people of faith, not to governments, and should inspire private charitable efforts but not taxpayer-funded plans for illegal immigrants.


“It’s noble and commendable to be charitable with your own money, but it’s something different to be charitable with other people’s money,” he said.

At La Placita on Friday, more than 150 worshipers attended a Mass of “reconciliation and hope” for an all-inclusive healthcare reform plan. Later, parishioners were asked to call their elected officials to ask that all immigrants be granted access to health insurance.


For Josephina Dedoy, a 58-year-old Mexico native and legal U.S. resident, the debate is intensely personal. She and her husband, a naturalized U.S. citizen, have a daughter who has epilepsy and is undocumented, having been born in Mexico before her parents earned legal status.

Dedoy said the family had insurance coverage until recently, when her husband was laid off after 17 years as a painter and designer. The family looked into private health plans but found them unaffordable at nearly $1,000 a month.

Now, Dedoy said, she is anxious over how they will pay for their daughter’s medical care. But as Obama supporters, Dedoy said, she believes the president will support people like them.

“We’re waiting for the mercy of the government for those in need like us,” she said.


-- Teresa Watanabe

Photo: A woman attends noon Mass at Our Lady Queen of Angels church in Los Angeles, where priests held a news conference Friday to demand a voice for immigrants in the current debate over healthcare reform. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

 
Comments () | Archives (64)

Being charitable with other peoples money is unfair to everyone. How dare these religious leaders encourage illegal behavior from people jumping the border, breaking the laws to remain here and expecting the American taxpayer to subsidize them. Tell these misguided leaders to use their charity to send illegal immigrants home. Tell them the rules of law in the USA and instruct them to come here legally or stay where they were born.

Once deported, they will NEVER be able to qualify for citizenship if they return illegally. They risk everything to remain here and skirt the legal system. They will be caught and deported. Fraudulent papers and forged documents won't help them. Eventually, they will be discovered and removed. As they should be. Would the religious leaders instruct a bank robber to take sanctuary in their church? How about a rapist, murderer? Where is the line drawn? Oh it's just a ID thief ...that's okay....NO. None of this is okay.

The current rate of 12.9% unemployment in CA will only make it harder to continue working here illegally. Deportation by attrition.

Free healthcare for gang members wounded in gang violence.

If the Catholic church wants illegals to have health care, let the Catholic church pay for it.

Here is the list of countries providing better healthcare than the U.S.

1 France
2 Italy
3 San Marino
4 Andorra
5 Malta
6 Singapore
7 Spain
8 Oman
9 Austria
10 Japan
11 Norway
12 Portugal
13 Monaco
14 Greece
15 Iceland
16 Luxembourg
17 Netherlands
18 United Kingdom
19 Ireland
20 Switzerland
21 Belgium
22 Colombia
23 Sweden
24 Cyprus
25 Germany
26 Saudi Arabia
27 United Arab Emirates
28 Israel
29 Morocco
30 Canada
31 Finland
32 Australia
33 Chile
34 Denmark
35 Dominica
36 Costa Rica


The California unemployment rate for legal residents of California is 12.7%, climbing, and there is no engine for economic growth in the forseeable future.

They might consider vacationing in Costa Rica, Dominica, or Canada, until we get back on our feet.

Illegal is illegal. Anyone in this country illegally should not be entitled to any benefits including employment, government assistance, health care or any other perk that makes crossing that border illegally attractive. Period. All U.S Citizens/legal residents should have healthcare available. Commiting a crime should not be rewarded.

what is the real scoop, americans going to mexican pharmacies because drugs are cheaper and mexicans here illegally demanding healthcare because it is cheaper? if i were close to my countries border and did not speak the local language i would return home to be treated. some of these immigrants appear to be con artists, wanting work and welfare at the same time!

Like a good Christian, I've read my Bible. Jesus told THE CHURCH to care for the needy, NOT the state. There's a separation in our Constitution, remember?

So these "leaders" should be the ones taking care of these illegal aliens. Church membership (and financially contributing to the church) is voluntary in this country. Taxes are not. It is immoral to force care of illegal aliens on other people.

I agree with those who say if "religious leaders," mainly Catholic clergy and liberal Protestants, want free healthcare for illegals who break the law by coming here illegally in the first place and accepting free services intended for citizens - let THEM pay for it.

Catholic hospitals and schools exist, let them put their money where their mouths are. Otherwise, they need to observe Jesus' rule, render unto God what is God's, unto Cesar what is Cesar's: financial issues are the concern of the state/ we the CITIZEN taxpayer-voters. These "leaders" claim it's a moral issue, but it's really a financial and legal one.

American citizens traveling to Mexico or Central America, where most of these illegals are from, or India etc., are billed when receiving medical services, and fees and availability for anything more than a minor clinic visit is hard to come by and hugely expensive, pay up-front.

But the fact is, that however the Obama Healthcare Bill is written, even if illegals are excluded on paper, the fact is they will receive treatment at ER's and elsewhere as they do now, and we will pay for it with added costs.

Doctors can't be expected for humanitarian reasons to let someone gravely ill die or go untreated, and in those cases, ICE should determine the person's home country and bill that country where the person is a citizen. Right now thousands of poor citizens are denied care at ER's because they have no insurance, and are sent to county facilities where waits are huge and they sometimes die waiting.

Billing illegals and their home countries is a start: as someone notes, these people send earned money "home" yet cost their home countries nothing. Even if the countries don't pay we need to alert them and the public to the real costs we are absorbing.

I agree with those who say if "religious leaders," mainly Catholic clergy and liberal Protestants, want free healthcare for illegals who break the law by coming here illegally in the first place and accepting free services intended for citizens - let THEM pay for it.

Catholic hospitals and schools exist, let them put their money where their mouths are. Otherwise, they need to observe Jesus' rule, render unto God what is God's, unto Cesar what is Cesar's: financial issues are the concern of the state/ we the CITIZEN taxpayer-voters. These "leaders" claim it's a moral issue, but it's really a financial and legal one.

American citizens traveling to Mexico or Central America, where most of these illegals are from, or India etc., are billed when receiving medical services, and fees and availability for anything more than a minor clinic visit is hard to come by and hugely expensive, pay up-front.

But the fact is, that however the Obama Healthcare Bill is written, even if illegals are excluded on paper, the fact is they will receive treatment at ER's and elsewhere as they do now, and we will pay for it with added costs.

Doctors can't be expected for humanitarian reasons to let someone gravely ill die or go untreated, and in those cases, ICE should determine the person's home country and bill that country where the person is a citizen. Right now thousands of poor citizens are denied care at ER's because they have no insurance, and are sent to county facilities where waits are huge and they sometimes die waiting.

Billing illegals and their home countries is a start: as someone notes, these people send earned money "home" yet cost their home countries nothing. Even if the countries don't pay we need to alert them and the public to the real costs we are absorbing.

So, let's tax the churches. Problem solved.

I agree, iof these pastor are so high up in saving these people, he should be telling them that coming here illegally is not the way to do it, the priest should be held accountable in helping these people as a helper of illegals, seriously though, its enough. my father came here legally, why cant these people do the same.

California is sinking and the number one reason for it is illegal immigration. The benefits CA provides to illegals is around $1 Billion per year. If illegal immigration was stopped tomorrow and undocumented people deported, the state would be in fine financial shape. There is no such thing as "cheap labor." Not to the taxpayers. The Catholic church (along with many other denominations) always sing this song about illegal immigrants. It keeps the pews filled - again, at the taxpayers' expense. The 36 countries listed below have socialized medicine, not BETTER health care. The U.S. has the best system in the world. (Why else would Saudi kings, et al come here for care?) Socializing it as Obama wants to do will ruin it forever.

"The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state.

It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority."

-Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love, 1963.


I can't believe you guys. Gracias padres.

So why should the taxpayers of the United States or California pay for the healthcare of people who choose to enter this country illegally??? The people who cross the lines without going through the formalities should should understand the principle of "Caveat Emptor".

Oh..I forgot..they can't even speak English so I doubt they would even understand Latin.

They want to be able to BUY insurance just like the rest of us. It has nothing to do with giving people free health care.

Everyone should be able to BUY a policy from the exchange.

I agree that illegal immigration needs reform and over haul very badly, but health care is not the place to do it.

Religious leaders if they so generous, should pay for illegals healthcare themselfs from theit church money and not ask us to pay with our tax money.

"The benefits CA provides to illegals is around $1 Billion per year."

Jack, I just want to correct you on this point. Per the LA County Supervisors, Los Angeles County alone spends over $1 billion per year on entitlement benefits to illegals (not including educating their children or incarcerating their criminals). The figure for the entire state is much higher, I believe somewhere between $14-$16 billion.

Whatever happened to religious leaders who upheld law and order? What these characters propose is anarchy: when foreign lawbreakers are rewarded then millions more will conclude that only suckers follow the law. The taxpayers will bear the burden of the so-called leaders' selective generosity.

Not incidentally, the group most hurt by open borders is America's own poor, whose wages have been driven down by exploitable illegals.

The hypocrisy of the churchie types is really over the top: they pretend to stand for the poor and dispossessed, but really want to keep their pews full, and credulous Mexican peasants, etc. fit that bill very well. No wonder many Americans are disgusted with churches these days.

The Roman Catholic Church, the nation’s largest religious denomination with 67 million members, considers healthcare a basic human right, a position the church has articulated since 1963, when it was included in a papal encyclical by Pope John XXIII. As a result, the church believes that illegal immigrants should be included in any healthcare reform plan, according to Kathy Saile, director of domestic social development with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

If they believe this then let the richest corporation on earth pay for it. FYI THe richest corporation on Earth is the ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCh.

Now that E-Verify is becoming a nationwide verification application to extract 20 million plus illegal immigrants from businesses. It is now growing in aggressive performance for placing true US workers in the job line and outing illegal labor. This operation should now extend to certainly more purposeful uses? That means not just federal contractors but everybody who draws a pay check? Should a health care reform pass all obstacles in the House and Senate chambers, it could have an invaluable function of checking people who are not only applicants for jobs, but health care reform registry. Illegal immigrants are already getting free emergency hospital care and--WE--pay for it. In the future it should be considered to vet a person’s nationality status, when applying for a mortgage? The United States banking system, financial institution were all but swept away on a deluge of corruption that has very sinister undertones in an organization called ACORN.


The Association of Community Organizations for Reform now is under state and federal investigations at this very moment. Other involved institution impacted both Freddie Mac/Freddie Mae and a scheme incorporating underhand minority lending practices. But you might not have heard any of this, from the liberal media about the massive illegal alien mortgage accusations. The whole debacle was the involvement in a corrupt enabling banking industry and ethnic lobbyists, using unethical methods, along with Bush administration to guarantee loans for low income and people that could not possibly afford mortgages. Didn't Wall Street, the government regulators learn anything from the Savings and loan crisis in the 1980?

GOOGLE—Michelle Malkin, she has her own blog and also Google illegal immigrants—mortgages—home loans. Find out about the shady deals which had a massive impact on the 2009 real estate crash. In Addition read how we as citizens and legal residents can demand permanent E-VERIFY. Tell the politicians in Washington at 202-224-3121 It’s about time they worked for the USworking man/woman, instead of paying-off favors to the wealthy business lobbyists? NUMBERSUSA & JUDICIAL WATCH has more answers about corrupt lawmakers and the issues that effects us all. HELP AMERICA SURVIVE. BETTER START COUNTING YOUR PENNIES, BECAUSE IF THE DEM'S PASS ANOTHER AMNESTY--WILL HAVE MILLIONS OF MORE DESTITUTE ILLEGAL ALIENS AND FAMILIES TO SUPPORT!. THE BUSINESSES THAT HIRE THEM WILL NOT! If the Democratic leadership forces through a path to citizenship or blanket AMNESTY--the US will also have irreversible OVERPOPULATION guaranteed and massive hikes in taxes to support illegal alien families. Incidentally, as a middle of the road voter, I certainly would entertain a public option for the less financially capable in my family circle, but I'm adamant NO-HEALTH CARE FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS IN THIS REFORM.

Despite the negative outlook on the way in which some people see immigrants, I think that a sense of understanding should be able to be seen. Even though it is wrong for people to illegally migrate here, the fact at the end is that they are here and they should be taken care of. Immigrants work and live just like legal citizens here and at times work harder than individuals who are U.S. citizens. Are we suppose to turn our back on them because they dont have the proper papers to show that they are legal? Are we to forget that even though they are illegal they are still human beings who have the same rights as you or I? The religious background that supports this claim of illegal immigrants obtaining healthcare can be seen as understanding that these people are still human being, despite where or how they may have made it here . Are all of us naturally from here? Technically we are all from somewhere other than the "New World". It took time for most of our forefathers to receive citizenship and rights, so what is the difference in this case? As far as the funding for healthcare, I think that it should first began with the religious officials and then progress to citizens aiding the plan. Why should we allow people who want the same opportunities that we are privileged to have suffer because they are not from where we are and are attempting t0 do whatever it takes to grasp it, even if that means entering the U.S. illegally?

ABSOLUTELY NOT!! The hard-working legal citizens of this country can barely afford or are not able to get health insurance and the churches are advocating for illegal immigrants to receive free healthcare. Thats blasphemy within itself. I understand the plight of immigrants and I respect them for wanting to have better lives and oppurtunities but please do it legally. You were not forced to come here so don't expect to receive handouts.

Fine, If "Religious Leaders" want ILLEGALS to receive FREE Health Care,...LET THEM FUND IT OUT OF T-H-E-I-R DEEP POCKETS.

By the way, What's YOUR definitation of ILLEGAL??

When are people going to wake up and realize 'we have no money?' We are broke, get that? WE ARE BROKE. Credit is no longer an option..

Why isn't your country supporting you? You should go home and get all the services from the country you belong to. We don't go to your country and steal their services. Why is the Catholic Church encouraging you to continue to break the laws of the land? God said to obey the laws of the land and the laws of God. The Catholic Church is extremely hypocritical on said issue.

 
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