CIS Event Exploits ‘Mind Boggling’ Health Care Reform To Promote Reduced Immigration

migrant-workerThursday, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) — known as the “nativist lobby’s supposedly ‘independent’ think tank” — held a panel on immigration’s impact on health care reform. As usual, the group which has been regularly characterized as having “never found any aspect of immigration it likes,” used the current health care debate as an opportunity to argue that immigration is bad for America.

According to CIS, immigrants account for 27.1% of the uninsured and 64% of undocumented immigrants were uninsured in 2006. However, it’s puzzling that CIS can reach any conclusion about the undocumented population when its analysis is supposedly based on data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), which doesn’t ask questions about its respondents’ immigration status. They also don’t mention that the majority of uninsured people — 78% — are US citizens. All of this data is weakly tied to the point that most of these immigrants will be covered by health care legislation and that will pave the way for rabid reform that gives undocumented immigrants access to all government benefits.

Panelist Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation explains:

We have a complete open door for every illegal immigrant current and in the future to simply enroll and receive benefits under this program. We will not only not check them at the door, we will not check them once they begin to receive the benefits. If you’re going to do that with respect to health care, why would you not also establish the same precedent with respect to food stamps, public housing, earned income taxed credit and so forth. And I believe that that is in fact the direction that Congress wants to go to to allow all welfare benefits to be fully available to all illegal immigrants...we will begin to draw the seriously ill from all over the world to begin to come here to receive free medical treatment…it is an absolutely mind boggling precedent.”

Both the Senate and House proposed health care bills explicitly state that undocumented immigrants will not be eligible for any federal health care insurance, but Rector is all worked up because there aren’t any harsh immigration enforcement mechanisms built into the bill. There’s actually a good reason for that. An article in the Hoefstra Law Review points out that when Colorado passed a series of controversial measures requiring applicants for most state benefits to prove their immigration status, the effect on US citizens was devastating. It cost the state $2 million in its first year alone and, despite having promised to eliminate 50,000 undocumented immigrants from the state’s public benefit rolls, as of October 2008 state officials could not identify how many, if any, undocumented immigrants were being denied public services.

Another study by the Government Accountability Office found that documentation requirements used to prove medicaid eligibility caused thousands of eligible U.S. citizens to lose Medicaid coverage without saving taxpayers any money: for every $100 spent by taxpayers to implement documentation requirements in six states, only 14 cents were saved.

It is however true that the US needs to do something about its broken immigration system — which brings CIS to it’s main point and motivation for talking about health care in the first place. CIS Research Director Steven Camarota explains:

“If we want to reduce the uninsured population and avoid large costs for taxpayers in the health care system we need to enforce immigration laws and reduce illegal immigrants. And on legal immigration, moving forward in the future, we would need to allow in many fewer immigrants who have little education.”

Watch it:


CIS and Rector aren’t likely to admit it, but the Congressional Budget Office estimates that, had the US legalized undocumented immigrants under the 2007 immigration bill, it would have generated $48 billion in new revenue from administrative fees and income and payroll taxes alone.

Andrea Christina Nill

Republished with permission from the Wonk Room/Think Progress


  1. Eric says

    Jacksmith, I’m afraid that your numbers are, well…
    Well, I don’t have any proof that you just made them up on the spot, but they are far enough away from objective reality that it’s a distinct possibility. I mean really… 2/3 of all Americans want Single Payer Health Care? They wouldn’t believe that even on DemocraticUnderground. Not that that would stop them from parroting it of course…

    But pointing out blatantly false numbers is not why I decided to make a comment. And of course, given who reads sites like this, I’m sure my words fell on deaf ears.

    No, I came to this comment form for an entirely different reason. Basically, I wanted to point out two things…

    a) Illegal aliens (There’s no such thing as an undocumented citizen) will NOT be barred from taking advantage of free health care. Why not? Because although the plain language in one portion of the law bars them, the not-so-plain language in other portions of the bill prevent anyone from using government systems to discover who IS or is NOT an illegal.

    b) The socialized health care systems in other nations, Canada and the UK come to mind first; are falling apart, being crushed under the weight of soaring costs, stagnant revenues and basic availability. This FACT is available to anyone with an internet connection and a desire to see what the people suffering under those systems have to say. There’s no more hiding of lies and controlling of information these days. We can all discover the truth for ourselves.

    Too bad so many people choose to obtain all their information from echo chambers instead of seeking it out on their own.

    I will now return you to your regularly schedule propaganda.

  2. jacksmith says

    NO CO-OP’S! A Little History Lesson

    Young People. America needs your help.

    More than two thirds of the American people want a single payer health care system. And if they cant have a single payer system 77% of all Americans want a strong government-run public option on day one (86% of democrats, 75% of independents, and 72% republicans). Basically everyone.

    Our last great economic catastrophe was called the Great Depression. Then as now it was caused by a reckless, and corrupt Republican administration and republican congress. FDR a Democrat, was then elected to save the nation and the American people from the unbridled GREED and profiteering, of the unregulated predatory self-interest of the banking industry and Wallstreet. Just like now.

    FDR proposed a Government-run health insurance plan to go with Social Security. To assure all Americans high quality, easily accessible, affordable, National Healthcare security. Regardless of where you lived, worked, or your ability to pay. But the AMA riled against it. Using all manor of scare tactics, like Calling it SOCIALIZED MEDICINE!! :-0

    So FDR established thousands of co-op’s around the country in rural America. And all of them failed. The biggest of these co-op organizations would become the grandfather of the predatory monster that all of you know today as the DISGRACEFUL GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance industry. And the DISGRACEFUL GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT healthcare industry.

    This former co-op would grow so powerful that it would corrupt every aspect of healthcare delivery in America. Even corrupting the Government of the United States.

    This former co-op’s name is BLUE CROSS/BLUE SHIELD.

    Do you see now why even the suggestion of co-op’s is ridiculous. It makes me so ANGRY! Co-op’s are not a substitute for a government-run public option.

    They are trying to pull the wool over our eye’s again. Senators, if you don’t have the votes now, GET THEM! Or turn them over to us. WE WILL! DEAL WITH THEM. Why do you think we gave your party Control of the House, Control of the Senate, Control of the Whitehouse. The only option on the table that has any chance of fixing our healthcare crisis is a STRONG GOVERNMENT-RUN PUBLIC OPTION.

    An insurance mandate and subsidies without a strong government-run public option choice available on day one, would be worse than the healthcare catastrophe we have now. The insurance, and healthcare industry have been very successful at exploiting the good hearts of the American people. But Congress and the president must not let that happen this time. House Progressives and members of the Tri-caucus must continue to hold firm on their demand for a strong Government-run public option.

    A healthcare reform bill with mandates and subsidies but without a STRONG government-run public option choice on day one, would be much worse than NO healthcare reform at all. So you must be strong and KILL IT! if you have too. And let the chips fall where they may. You can do insurance reform without mandates, subsidies, or taxpayer expense.

    Actually, no tax payer funds should be use to subsidize any private for profit insurance plans. So, NO TAX PAYER SUBSIDIZES TO PRIVATE FOR PROFIT PLANS. Tax payer funds should only be used to subsidize the public plans. Healthcare reform should be 100% for the American people. Not another taxpayer bailout of the private for profit insurance industry, disguised as healthcare reform for the people.

    God Bless You

    Jacksmith — Working Class

    Twitter search #welovetheNHS #NHS Check it out



  3. Brittancus says

    Everybody in the workplace must be carefully vetted for inconsistencies with a progressively upgraded E-Verify. Even without stealing into the reformed health care system by federal law the taxpayers must support illegal immigrants for emergency medical services. Foreign nationals use this mandatory law, as an excuse for any kind of minor injury or illness.

    The travesty that drives the faltering health care system is of course money. Everyday our televisions are monotonously inundated with adverts about new drugs and medicine. Personally I’m sick of the continuous kaleidescope of ads, trying to program our brains to buy another boring antihistamine? We should also question the majority of Republicans, why there are rumors of a dark conspiracy? Could it be that that these people have a cemented interest in killing any type of reform? How many of these politicians have secret stocks in multi-bed hospitals, greedy profiteering insurance firms or the pharmaceutical industry. THE QUESTION THAT MUST BE ASKED IS, WHO HAS VOTED AGAINST A PUBLIC OPTION? WHICH POLITICIANS HAVE A FINANCIAL STAKE IN KILLING ANY REFORM? IS THERE INFORMATION THAT ANSWERS THESE QUESTIONS? THINK ABOUT IT?

    My health care experience was mainly in England and Australia and prior to the mass immigration invasion was positively first class. FIRST CLASS AND EXEMPLARY!

    Of course the status quo doesn’t want any change in the trillion dollar medical complex, because it could strictly confine a multitude of new common sense laws? Sadly, I have listened to lies sprouting from the special interest lobby over the airwaves for weeks. Trouble is, a majority of the American people believe this tripe that we are constantly bombarded with?

    We are still conveying many entitlement programs to illegal aliens and their families, with extorted taxes.We have always been the recipients of business welfare and likely always will be, because the pariah businesses that hire illegals, never pay anything to their support. GET RAW ANSWERS AT NUMBERSUSA Tell those in WASHINGTON no more AMNESTIES. USE ATTRITION TO DEPORT THEM THROUGH E-VERIFY, 287 G, NO MATCH SOCIAL SECURITY LETTERS AND LIGHTENING ICE RAIDS. CONTACT YOUR POLITICIAN 202-224-3121 AND DEMAND NO WEAKENING OF CURRENT LAWS?

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