LatinaLista — Unbelievably, the issue of immigration is still being used by some Congressional politicians to prove a point. That they want to make an example of defenseless children who are legal immigrants to continue making their point illustrates their contempt not just for undocumented immigrants but immigrants overall.
But the surprising twist in this new round of immigrant-punishing legislation is that it doesn’t emanate from the House of Representatives, where comprehensive immigration reform failed, but in the Senate.
It seems “Congressional Democrats said they had decided to add a major provision allowing states to restore health insurance benefits to legal immigrants under 21″ in the new State Children’s Health Insurance Program, known by the acronym S-CHIP.
Whereas the House Democrats are set to take the bill directly to the floor, that’s not the story in the Senate. “Senate Democratic leaders plan to work through the Finance Committee, led by Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana. Mr. Baucus has drafted a bill similar to the House measure. As of late Monday, his proposal did not include benefits for immigrants.”
In a new administration where the President-elect has made it clear that it’s a new day when it comes to the rights of children, this posturing by the Senate starts the new era in Washington on an old and discriminatory page.
When it comes to the health of children, it is a universal right that all children be provided with health care. Do we not fly in children from all parts of the world who are suffering major illnesses and provide them opportunities to live healthy lives?
What is the difference if the children are legally here and the health opportunities are used to prevent them from suffering worse diseases that could be costly and life threatening?
As of now, legal immigrant children are not eligible to receive S-CHIP for the first five years after they enter the United States. Yet, everyone knows that five years in children’s lives means many changes are occurring within children’s bodies and the importance of vaccines and being treated quickly to prevent health conditions from worsening are imperative.
It is vital that in this worsening economy there is not a further class division created by Congress by barring only certain children from receiving affordable healthcare.
The attitude that fosters the thinking that it’s ok to deprive only certain children from receiving affordable healthcare is an embarrassing reminder of where we used to be as a country — and not where we are going.