Local Group Outraged About Healthcare for Illegal Immigrants

By: Jessica Zartler Email
By: Jessica Zartler Email

As president Obama pushes healthcare reform in Washington, the healthcare debate in Grand Junction is heating up.

One local group is outraged that some that non–profits may be providing health care to illegal immigrants but immigrant advocates say those people should be upset at the system, not the people getting care.

There may be anywhere from seven to 20 million immigrants in the US illegally--living, working and in need of medical care.

AmaLia with Me and Associates, a local advocacy group, says she doesn't have a problem with that but it's how they're getting health care that makes her mad.

"The non–citizen people, yes, they should have care but not at the cost of the US citizens," AmaLia told 11 News on Monday.

She says it's a shame--Marillac Clinic turning away citizens who are underinsured but providing medical services to anyone without insurance, including immigrants who may be here illegally.

"It's not quite right, i think it's unfair for this to be happening."

Marillac Clinic declined an on camera interview but said their mission is to serve people in Mesa County who don't have insurance, and although some illegal immigrants may be getting care, they say it's because of their services more people are getting the preventive care they need.

Thomas Acker, professor and member of Western Colorado Justice for Immigrants says AmaLia and Me and Associates are asking the wrong question.

"The question that needs to be asked is why are we allowing so many people not to have healthcare, rather than begrudging a few people some services," Acker told 11 News on Monday.

Acker says although many immigrants may be here illegally, he says they are contributing to the economy through their jobs in agriculture and construction.

"They are working members of our society. They're not here living off welfare or anything that some people would like to imagine."

Although Acker and AmaLia disagree about who should get help first but they do agree on one thing--that healthcare is badly in need of reform.

Lawmakers are hearing the calls for healthcare reform. The Colorado House of Representatives is considering a bill right now that would provide healthcare for everyone. It's not clear if illegal immigrants would be included. That bill is expected for a vote in the Business Affairs and Labor + Appropriations committee March 18th.

For more information on House Bill 1273 click on the link below.

AmaLia and Me and Associates invite comments at MEandAssoc@gmail.com


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Get the Facts Location: Grand Junction on Mar 12, 2009 at 03:55 PM
    This story was so full of inaccuracies it is hard to know where to start. Marillac Clinic has provided health care to low- income, uninsured Mesa County residents for 20 yrs. To be eligible, you must be a Mesa County resident, uninsured and your income must fall at or below 250% of the federal poverty level. The only exception to the uninsured status requirement is in Marillac's Dental Clinic, which also provides services to individuals eligible for Medicaid and CHP . Yes...Marillac Clinic compassionately treats undocumented Mesa County residents who are uninsured and meet its income guidelines, but by law, cannot use certain state funding sources to support their treatment. In compliance with state law, Marillac asks each and every person to verify U.S. residency, but only to determine if they are eligible for these state sources. Next time KKCO, do some homework before you air slanderous and damaging information about a highly respected & valued non-profit in our community.
  • by Americanchic Location: jefferson twp pa on Mar 12, 2009 at 08:29 AM
    Illegal aliens are not allowed to work in this country,if they are here illegally...What don't you under stand about illegal and the laws that are there to protect the U.S. citizens.
  • by Compassion Location: in Grand Junction on Mar 10, 2009 at 05:40 PM
    Marillac Clinic is a faith based - nonprofit organization. It is not a government organization. As long as Marillac Clinic is in compliance with it's legal non-profit status and is not misdirecting or misusing donated funds we shouldn't be greedy/angry about its services.
  • by Haywood Location: GJ on Mar 10, 2009 at 05:33 PM
    Do you know that the local group ME and Associates is one person – and that person is ImAliar (who was in the story)? Your facts were not close and a group is more than one. If you printed ImAliar's comments and put them on cars at the mall you could do another story on racism because that is what you promoted. Maybe superglue teeth, ImAliar and the reporter are all sharing the same METH! If you are going to continue promoting racism may I suggest you change your call letters to KKKo.
  • by Mary Location: Grand Junction on Mar 10, 2009 at 12:54 PM
    I agree with both women. We take are of our own first.
  • by Anne Location: GJ on Mar 10, 2009 at 09:36 AM
    Why allow comments? Since they're not posted......
  • by Anne Location: GJ on Mar 9, 2009 at 07:10 PM
    NO FREE RIDE FOR ILLEGALS! WHY DO ILLEGALS RANK ABOVE CITIZENS??? UTTERLY RIDICULOUS......
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