There's a front-page piece in today's New York Times about how Dallas and Fort Worth--and, for that matter, most of Texas' hospitals--deal with illegal immigrants. It says, in essence, that Parkland Memorial Hospital has a don't-ask-don't-tell policy when it comes to treating its patients, since doctors there don't question their patients' immigration status. Says Parkland President Dr. Ron Anderson, "I don't want my doctors and nurses to be immigration agents...We decided that these are folks living in our community and we needed to render the care." (Of course, Parkland still wants Mexico to pay for treating its former residents, but still.) But over in Fort Worth, it's a different story:
"JPS Health Network requires foreign-born patients to show legal immigration documents to receive financial assistance in nonemergencies, like elective surgery and the treatment of routine or chronic illnesses. Executives said that their first responsibility was to legal residents, but that they were uncomfortable about having to make such distinctions.
'I don't think you should ask the hospital to make moral decisions for the State of Texas or, for that matter, for the United States,' said Robert Earley, a senior vice president of JPS.
To some Fort Worth residents, the hospital--which does provide emergency and maternity care to illegal immigrants--has nonetheless sent a message that illegal immigrants are not welcome."
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The Times then goes on to interview a Plano software salesman, Tim Gallagher, who recently wrote a letter to The Dallas Morning News in which he insisted, "If somebody here needs health care, they should get it, and then if they are illegal, they should go bye-bye." Says the Paper of Record, that's how most Texans feel. Really? Really? Yeah, probably. --Robert Wilonsky