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July 29, 2009

MYTH: Immigrants Are a Threat to Workable Health Care Reform!

As policymakers debate the scope and form of the health care reform package some anti-immigrant voices out there are already clamoring about the negative effects of immigrant participation in our health care system. But, before you throw your hands up in defeat when you hear someone repeat this myth, consider responding with these quick mythbusting facts!

FACT: The more people who pay into a system of health insurance, the more everyone benefits. An important function of health insurance is to pool risks and use premiums collected from the healthy to pay for the medical care of those who need it.

FACT: U.S. citizens make up the majority of those who are uninsured. U.S. citizens make up the majority of the uninsured (78%), while legal and undocumented immigrants account for 22% of the nonelderly uninsured.

FACT: Immigrants do not impose a disproportionate financial burden on the U.S. health care system. According to a July 2009 study in the American Journal of Public Health, immigrants use less medical care, and less expensive care, even when they have health insurance.

* Immigrants’ per-person medical expenditures were one-half to two-thirds less than U.S.-born citizens with similar characteristics. Health care costs for the average immigrant in America are 55% lower than health care costs for the average U.S.-born person. Another study found that, in 2005, average annual per capita health care expenditures for noncitizens were $1,797—versus $3,702 for U.S. citizens.
* Recent immigrants were responsible for 1.4% of total public medical expenditures for adults in 2003, even though they constituted 5% of the population.

For more mythbusting facts read "Health Care: Sharing the Costs, Sharing the Benefits" a new report from the Immigration Policy Center at http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/images/File/factcheck/Sharing%20the%20Costs%20Sharing%20the%20Benefits%202009.pdf

Posted by VisaLawyer at 02:31 PM | Comments (0)

July 27, 2009

Immigration law applied to everyone in the US

"U.S. citizens tell of ICE lockup, deportations

Monday, July 27, 2009

(07-26) 18:37 PDT -- When Brian Lyttle got word on April 22 from the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala that his brother Mark had been deported to Mexico and bumped around Central America for three months, he was floored.

The family had been searching for 31-year-old Mark and feared he was lost or dead.

Mark Lyttle was born in Rowan County, N.C., and had never left the United States. He speaks no Spanish and has no Mexican ancestry.

But Mark Lyttle suffers from mental illness. He has bipolar disorder, which requires medication, and is also mentally disabled.

He had been living in a group home when he got into trouble for inappropriately touching an employee, said Neil Rambana, an immigration lawyer helping the family. Lyttle pled guilty to a misdemeanor and served 85 days in jail. Instead of being released, he was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement because a jail form listed his place of birth as Mexico.

ICE did not investigate his citizenship. He spent two months at an Atlanta detention center just miles from his mother, who didn't know where he was.

At one point Lyttle signed an ICE document saying he was a Mexican citizen, but two days later he signed another stating that he was born in the United States. He went before a judge in December 2008 as part of a group hearing and accepted "expedited removal," an uncontested deportation.

Brian Lyttle, who serves in the U.S. Army along with his other brother, Tommy, is furious that his brother was deported.

"(We're) an all-American family with two soldiers and a family member who happens to be handicapped," he said. "It's like spitting on my uniform that you would do that to my brother."

suspicious accent

Houston chef Leonard Robert Parrish, 52, wasn't locked up by ICE or deported, but he did run afoul of a law intended for illegal immigrants.

The Brooklyn-born Parrish went down to the Harris County sheriff's office in September to clear up a problem over a couple of bounced checks. He wound up in jail on immigration charges. He was strip-searched and spent 12 hours in custody.

"The deputy told me I had a foreign accent," Parrish recalled. "I told him I had an East Coast accent. He said, 'It sounds like a foreign accent to me.' "

A 2008 Texas law required a person's citizenship status be linked to his driver's license. A sheriff's deputy told Parrish he was detained because when they ran his driver's license information through their computer, it said that his citizenship status was "unknown."

"I served on a murder jury in Texas and they can't find out I'm a citizen?" asked Parrish. "I'm still fighting. ... Nobody wants to take responsibility for locking me up for no reason."

ent to honduras

According to her birth certificate, Diane Williams was born in Metairie, La., on Aug. 23, 1974.

So Williams was shocked on Jan. 18 when, hours after she was released from a Houston jail on prostitution charges, immigration agents showed up at her apartment and arrested her, saying she was a deportable alien.

"I had a copy of my birth certificate, but they said they didn't know if it was real or not," she said.

Williams, who has bipolar disorder, was denied medication during her three weeks in ICE detention, according to her Houston lawyer, Lawrence Rushton.

She at first refused to sign a deportation order waiving her right to court review, but did so after agents threatened that she would be jailed for years and deported anyway, Williams said.

On Feb. 9, she was deported to Honduras, where she spent almost two months, Rushton said.

Eventually, the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa issued Williams a temporary passport, after her mother sent documents proving her identity. On March 31, she flew back to New Orleans.

"I've had citizens who end up being detained," Rushton said, "but this is the first case where I've seen someone deported who's clearly and obviously a U.S. citizen."".

- Tyche Hendricks


Posted by VisaLawyer at 02:24 PM | Comments (0)

July 09, 2009

Leaving Honduras

On Sunday I was supposed to take a flight to return to the US from Tegucigalpa. In the morning of the 5th of July we learned that all of the airports had been closed due to the attempted return of the President Mel Zeyala. The army was blocking the runways in all of the airports to prevent his return upon orders of the new President Roberto Micheletti. After changing my flight to Wednesday the first available date my family and I went to Valle de Angeles a beautiful village near the capital. There we did some shopping and ate a great Honduran steak dinner. Due to the military curfew at 6:00 pm we headed home early.

On Tuesday I called to confirm my Wednesday flight and connection to Chicago. After being passed to 5 different flight agents and 2 hours later I was told that all flights have been canceled until Saturday. Luckily I had a fully charged cell phone for this call. So then I called a bus line and caught an express bus to San Salvador, El Salvador. The trip took 8 hours to leave due to many roads that were closed by the police/army.

Fortunately the airline allowed me to exchange my Honduran flight for departure in El Salvador without to great a penalty fee. From there on Wednesday I caught a flight to Miami and then Chicago.

On Thursday I attended my clients marriage adjustment interview which went well. Now I will return to Nashville, Tennessee for work tomorrow.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 12:29 PM | Comments (0)