ECATEPEC, Mexico - When the motorcycle that illegal immigrant Laura Vel??zquez was riding slammed into a concrete wall, it cost a Phoenix hospital $478,000 to save her life.If the hospital did indeed absorb the cost of this young woman's treatment rather than charge the taxpayers, then that cost is passed on to all patients in terms of more expensive medical care. Otherwise the hospital would quickly be forced to close its doors like many others. There are other costs at patient level — services cut back, departments closed, techology purchases shelved. Citizens get a lowered quality of healthcare and are forced to pay more for it because of illegal foreign deadbeats.
The hospital is footing the bill. But Vel??zquez's life in America is finished after hospital officials sent her back to Mexico. [Weak immigrant sent home after free treatment in Ariz., Arizona Republic, March 17 2008]
The cash outlay alone is mind-boggling. A recent study found that San Diego County spent $155 million in unpaid medical care for foreigners in 2006.
But the Arizona Republic is telling this story, so the Mexican is portrayed as an innocent victim of circumstance because she was brought here as an 11-year-old child by her parents. That's true up to a point, but Miss Velazquez is an adult now who must accept her life as a Mexican citizen.
But Vel??zquez's case also shows how innocent people can get ensnared in the illegal-immigration controversy. Vel??zquez, now 22, never asked to come to the United States; she was brought as a child. She wasn't driving the motorcycle; she was only a passenger.In this case as in others, Mexicans believe Americans should provide free medical care and social services for them because they are "here struggling for this country." The only cure for such a misplaced sense of entitlement is negative reinforcement — like sending patients home — repeated thousands of times.
Her journey home has attracted the attention of Mexico's national media. Government officials in Ecatepec, her hometown on the outskirts of Mexico City, say she should have been allowed to recover in Phoenix, and they have accused the United States of indifference.