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Illegal Immigrants’ Health Costs Burden on U.S.

In the article (“Doctor Blames Aliens’ Fall on Border Patrol,” Feb. 16) and subsequent editorial (“A Bit of Medical Advice,” Feb. 17) about medical care for illegal immigrants injured during pursuits by the INS, the initial impression one got was that Dr. Thomas Shaver was truly concerned about the patients. On closer reading, however, it looks to me like the issue is really just about money.

If a person is in fact in the country illegally and a government agent charged with enforcing the law observes suspicious activity, is it not the officer’s duty to investigate and question the suspect? And if the person attempts to evade a law enforcement officer, then how is that person’s choice the “responsibility” of the officer or agency? Why bother to have any laws or enforcement when suspects become untouchable?

Let’s be real about this. The bottom line is that the trauma centers want the federal government to pay for these patients. Perhaps when nationalized health care becomes a reality, this issue will become moot.

Attempting to hold law enforcement officers responsible for trying to do their job, and not the individuals who choose to commit illegal acts, is a quantum leap in logic.

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Finally, let me say as a naturalized citizen (who immigrated by the rules) and as a health care professional, I feel government should ensure that quality health care coverage is accessible for citizens and legal residents unable to financially fend for themselves.

But we as a nation also need to consider whether we can continue to provide social services for anyone, regardless of race, creed, color or sexual orientation, who enters the country illegally. And if we decide that we shall provide for all, then we might as well save some money by closing agencies like the INS down.

DENNISE STEIN

Laguna Niguel

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