Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Illegal immigrants and health care

One of the issues bubbling to the surface in the health care debate is the question of providing care for illegal aliens. A group of religious conservatives who gathered at the annual Values Voter Summit this month believes that the issue of illegal immigration is the more important issue. As reported by Kevin Eckstrom at Religion News Service:

WASHINGTON -- Health care reform may be Priority No. 1 in Congress and at the White House, but for the 1,825 religious conservatives who gathered here for the annual Values Voter Summit over the weekend, the subject was barely on their radar screen.

"To me, there are so many more important issues than health care right now," said John Leaman, a retired yacht builder from Lancaster, Pa. Added his wife Linda, a waitress: "I don't think it's as urgent as Obama's making it out to be." The real problem, she said, is illegal immigrants "cluttering up our emergency rooms."

Indeed, among the dozen issues that attendees cited in casting their votes in a straw poll for possible 2012 Republican presidential candidates, health care never made the list. The top three issues were abortion, protecting religious liberty and opposing same-sex marriage.

The entire story is here.

Meanwhile, Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, N.Y., who chairs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, believes health reform should include all immigrants, legal or not. As reported by Chaz Muth of Catholic News Service:

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Though Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, N.Y., concedes there's no political will in Washington to include illegal immigrants in health care reform, he believes it's the country's moral obligation to ensure that everyone in the nation receives proper medical care.

That includes those who enter the country illegally, he told Catholic News Service in mid-September.

"I agree that there is a special problem with those who have entered here without the permission of the United States, and that has to be looked at," said Bishop Murphy, who chairs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. "But that's a problem unto itself."

Most U.S. Catholic bishops who have spoken publicly about health care reform have expressed the opinion that one of the richest countries in the world should find a way to guarantee that everyone within its borders has access to medical care, from conception to natural death.

The rest of that article is here.

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