Hundreds of undocumented immigrants have been deported back to their country of origin by hospitals seeking to curb high costs. According to a recent report compiled by immigrant advocacy groups at least 600 immigrants were removed over a five-year period because they were ineligible for public insurance as a result of their immigration status.
The report published by the Center for Social Justice (CSJ) at Seton Hall University School of Law and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) cites more than 800 cases of attempted or actual medical deportations across the country in recent years, including: a nineteen-year-old girl who died shortly after being wheeled out of a hospital back entrance typically used for garbage disposal and transferred to Mexico; a car accident victim who died shortly after being left on the tarmac at an airport in Guatemala; and a young man with catastrophic brain injury who remains bed-ridden and suffering from constant seizures after being forcibly deported to his elderly mother’s hilltop home in Guatemala.
“When immigrants are in need of ongoing medical care, they find themselves at the crossroads of two systems that are in dire need of reform—health care and immigration law. Aside from emergency care, hospitals are not reimbursed by the government for providing ongoing treatment for uninsured immigrant patients. Therefore, many hospitals are engaging in de facto deportations of immigrant patients without any governmental oversight or accountability,” Lori A. Nessel, director of CSJ said in a statement.
“This type of situation is ripe for abuse.” Nessel went on to say.