Saturday, November 04, 2006

Baby Killers

Referring back to Chaz Bufe's definition of "pro-life", the New York Times has a stellar example of a conservative rule that puts tens of thousands of born babies at risk, the better to pursue their vendetta against undocumented immigrants.
Undocumented immigrants are generally barred from Medicaid, but can get coverage for treatment of emergency medical conditions, including labor and delivery. In the past, once a woman received emergency care under Medicaid for the birth of a baby, the child was deemed eligible for coverage as well, and states had to cover them for one year from the date of birth.

Under the new policy, an application must be filed for the child, and the parents must provide documents to prove the child's citizenship.

The documentation requirements took effect in July, but some states have been slow to enforce them, and many doctors are only now becoming aware of the effects on newborns.

Obtaining such documents can take weeks or months in some states, doctors said. Moreover, they added, illegal immigrant parents may be reluctant to go to a state welfare office to file applications because they fear contact with government agencies that could report their presence to immigration authorities.

The pediatric community came out hard against this change, because the delay in receiving documentations (and the likelihood that illegal immigrants parents may not want to waltz into a government agency) deprives babies of care at some of the most critical points in their development. But what's really twisted is that there is literally no conceivable purpose beyond this bill other than harassment of illegal immigrants. Specifically, since anyone who is born in America automatically has US citizenship under the 14th amendment, it is almost physically impossible for a child born in a US hospital to not be a citizen eligible for Medicaid, even if their parents are illegal. So any claims that this is necessary verification are disingenuous.
Anne Marie Murphy, the Medicaid director in Illinois, said: "The new policy will be a barrier to Medicaid enrollment for citizen children. If we pay medical claims for childbirth at a hospital in Illinois, we know that the child was born here and is eligible for our program, based on income. It would be physically impossible for the child not to be a citizen."

Even if that weren't true, I'd say that putting innocent born children at greatly increased risk of death to buff up one's anti-immigrant bona fides is just wrong. Bufe appears to be right: Pro-lifers are "Vitally concerned with the wellbeing of "babies" right up to the moment of their birth--at which time they become "welfare cases" and "future criminals" undeserving of such luxuries as housing, health care, adequate nutrition, and a decent education."

Via Steve Benen


Ruthiness said...

Not a vendetta. Their parents are illegals who snuck into our country, sponge off our taxpayer funded public assistance, jam up our emergency rooms, don't pay any taxes and they send the extra money back to Mexico to their families. They need to be discouraged from coming here as parasites.

They won't let their babies suffer - they will just go home where they belong. They will be a lot less likely to use the anchor baby trick to become citizens this way. I'm ALL for it!

Ruthiness said...

And furthermore, they should NOT get to be citizens at ALL if they came here ILLEGALLY. The safest thing to do is to GO HOME and not expect the US taxpayers to keep paying for their offspring!

Ruthiness said...

Ok David. Let's say a pregnant woman breaks into your house and she has her baby right there in your living room. You gonna put her on your health insurance policy and let her stay there? If not, you are the SAME baby killer you are saying the Rebpublicans and Anti-Illegals are. If you kick that woman out of your house, even though she broke in - you are as heartless as we are. See the picture now??

florgal said...

No sympathy from me! I'm a legal American citizen who has NO health insurance. My two children have NO health insurance. Why? We can't afford it. Nor are we eligible for ANY of the benefits that are freely given to illegal aliens and their "anchor babies" who are NOT legal citizens according to the U.S. Constitution. I'm sick and tired of OUR laws being screwed with to give a bunch of shit colored illegal people what Americans aren't entitled to in this country. They didn't build this nation and we don't owe them a damned thing. It's about time they ALL get the hell out while the gettin's good. That goes for the terrorist towel heads, too. They use the system just as the latinos do. The islamics are here to kill us and the rest are here to just take over. Anyone who doesn't see this or denies it needs to get your head out of your ass and wake up!

jack said...

Nice crowd you've got here Dave.

David Schraub said...

1) I'm really confused as to how or why we apply a choice metric to new-born infants. They didn't choose to be born in ("come to") America. The argument for healthcare for new-born infants isn't based off concern for the adult but for the newborn--all your arguments about discouraging "parasites" fail because the actual subject of the dispute a) doesn't have culpability and b) is a US citizen by law.

2) The typical "it's the law" argument--while not usually persuasive to me in general--is particularly poorly applied here because again the subject of the policy is a US citizen under the 14th amendment. I do expect the US government to provide basic levels of care for indigent US citizens.

3) RE: Your "women giving birth in my living room" example. First, I think it rests on a false equivilancy of illegal immigration and breaking and entering. I don't conceptualize America as private property but as public domain. Second, I have no healthcare obligations--implied or otherwise--to anyone who is spatially present in my house (I might have it for other reasons--e.g., family under my roof--but that's because they're family, not because they're in my house). By contrast, governmental obligations are in many ways spatial, they cover all persons (and in many cases it is "persons", not just citizens--though again that's irrelevant here because the babies are citizens) who are living in the locale. Third, I think I do have an obligation to do my best to provide said woman's baby with care--but that doesn't necessarily translate to "on my health insurance". Far more rational would be making sure the mother can get to a hospital and be registered for medicaid (if eligible). Similarly, I'm agnostic toward how the US government insures the baby has healthcare, as long as the US government insures the baby has healthcare. However, unbroken medicaid coverage is as a policy matter probably the best way to achieve this. Certainly, deporting the mother back to her home country (which likely does not have a public healthcare system) doesn't achieve this burden.

4) The emphasis on deportation seems to display a rather shocking disregard for the wellbeing of the child who (to reiterate again) is a US citizen. Where do we get off randomly deporting 2 week old US citizens to punish women who have the temerity of buying into the American dream?

5) A massive portion of American citizens descend from illegal immigrants anyway--indeed, illegal immigration was the basis of our nation. Some people make that argument to condemn the older White immigrants. I make it to show that trying to use "law" to restrict people who dream of a better life is a fools game, and history will never condemn a parent whose only offense is desiring a real future for her child.

David Schraub said...

Jack: You're telling me!

I'm not even going to respond to that blatantly racist comment except to cite the 14th Amendment: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

The children of illegal immigrants remain persons, and are indeed subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. Hence, they are legal, full citizens of this great nation, and we are absolutely and totally obligated to treat them as such. To do otherwise subverts the 14th amendment and is racism, pure and simple.

Ruthiness said...

DAVID - the illegals are not BUYING into anything. They are STEALING. What have you to say to all the LEGAL immigrants who went through the process, paid the fees etc, waited IN LINE to emigrate to the US and then they see these people just walking across the border and they get to stay for a LOT less trouble. That sends the WRONG message. A country CANNOT just let everybody who wants to come into the country AND then let them sap off the taxpayer's money. That is just stupid headed to think a country can survive without controlling it's immigration rate. Look at ANY other country, MEXICO especially and see how they handle immigration and you will see the US are the only IDIOTS who let people come here, have a baby and poof become citizens. And worse yet, let anybody who can get across the border STAY HERE! Attitudes like yours are going to ruin this country and I for one am not going to stand by idly and let it happen.

My analogy about a woman giving birth in your living room is very appropriate because if you don't feel this is YOUR country that is YOUR home then you should leave because you don't deserve to be a citizen.

Ruthiness said...


I am not advocating punishing any babies for the transgressions of their parents. Critical care for any infant or any person is humane but THEN THEY NEED TO BE DEPORTED not SUPPORTED.

David you are a very naive and brain washed college student and you have a lot to learn.

Ivan Ludmer said...

Yeah, David. You're naive AND a stupid-head. Neener neener.

On the other hand, of course, there's the possibility that our immigration laws are and agencies are not dealing with the problem correctly. But we shouldn't consider that. All that matters is that people who gave up everything and risked their lives to sneak into this country obviously don't love it enough to be here, and if you don't recognize that, you're a terrorist.

I should leave it there, but as far as analogies go--if the supreme law of David's house was that anyone born within the house is a member of his family, he would be criminally negligent--at least--in kicking that child out into the street. Other than that fatal flaw, your analogy is fine.

jack said...

I should have just left my snide comment as my only contribution to this discussion. But this is just unbearable.

A country CANNOT just let everybody who wants to come into the country AND then let them sap off the taxpayer's money.

This myth of "sapping" tax payer money is one of the stupidest things in the world. If you really want these people to pay taxes theres a really quick way to solve that problem - amnesty. But thats sort of irrelevant since we don't really fund our government with the income taxes of day laborers. Meanwhile in 10 years baby boomers will start retiring and our work force won't be able to keep up with growth. Domestic business won't be able to survive or grow in America unless immigration is used to make up for that loss in the work force. If you have any desire to recieve social security benefits you'd best make sure there is a work force to support you by the time you retire.

Look at ANY other country, MEXICO especially and see how they handle immigration

Huh? I guess Mexico is a better example than say, France but it still doesn't make any sense. Who the fuck is trying to sneak into Mexico to get a job and steal their welfare? Seriously, you realize how stupid that sounds right?

Its sort of sad though, because you're right, or immigration system is in desperate need of reform. We're creating a fugitive class that is isolated and exploited by employers. Unregulated immigration is insane if we want to be serious about defending the country in a global age. Immigration also allows Mexico to put off reform they desperately need.

But killing children is not a solution to the immigration problem. We need to increase aid to Mexico ten-fold. Creating good jobs and economic security in Mexico will be hundred times more cost effective than just trying to keep immigtants out and deporting them once they get here.

Then we need a program that lets illegal aliens live and work here legally while they begin the process of becoming citizens. We need to spend more resources on incorporating and assimilating immigrant into our communities.

Finally we need to come up with inventive ways of securing our borders. The goal shouldn't be to keep people out- that will cost too much. The idea is to make illegal immigration rare enought that anyone coming across the border is worth picking up (presumably a low number of entries means managable deployment of resources to counter these entries).

To tie this post back to Dave's original theme: immigration should be safe, legal and rare.