There are an estimated 11.1 million undocumented immigrants currently residing in the United States. The current healthcare model pertains to all U.S citizens, but what are the parameters and regulations regarding those who live here illegally? The purpose of this paper is to not only answer this question, but also to address concerns regarding the provision of health care benefits, rights, and our ethical responsibilities to this population.
Some viewpoints assert that if a person is in the United States illegally, he should have no rights and no benefits. Proponents justify this position by blaming illegal immigration for economic hardships, such as increasing health care costs, for the American people. This attitude is simply inaccurate. Many undocumented immigrants do contribute to the economies of the federal, state and local governments through taxes and can stimulate job growth. However, the cost of providing healthcare impacts federal, state, and local governments differently.
The United States has a history in which success is associated with greater negativity toward certain groups. Anti-immigration sentiment and extreme immigration policy may come from the desire to blame outsiders for poor economic conditions. Immigrant and minority attitudes as well as policy regulations are tied to economic competition. Current public opinion polls show mixed attitudes over immigrants and immigration policy because of the ability of citizens to distinguish between documented and undocumented citizens.
The way the media reports the contribution of immigrants in a difficult economic market can lead to unfavorable attitudes concerning their success. Pair wise comparisons across different ethnic groups showed that less-positive attitudes toward undocumented Mexican immigrants were significantly higher than those associated with European participants. Participants from other ethnic minority groups showed less positivity toward undocumented Mexican immigrants than Latino participants. All ethnic groups showed a similar pattern of decrease in positive attitudes as years progressed (Diaz, Saenz and Kwan, 2011).
Attitudes regarding the resources taken and given by undocumented Mexican immigrants relate to fluctuations in the economy. Current economic conditions may be contributory factors that lead to less positive sentiments against illegal immigrants.
Health care costs associated with this population are a heated issue. Although studies report that undocumented immigrants underutilize health care when compared to the general population they are forced to use emergency rooms, which are mandated to provide care regardless of immigration status or ability to pay. There are, however, benefits of having these immigrants, and their children, living in the United States. On the federal level, revenues generated by this population are greater than the expense of providing services because they do not qualify for these Federal programs. They also contribute to the...