Mexico Sending Citizens for Health Care on the U.S.'s Tab

| Thu May 31, 2007 6:20 PM EDT

With immigration in the news, let's see what you think of a new program being offered by Mexican Consulates in the United States. The program, called Ventanillas de Salud, or Health Windows, "aims to provide Mexican immigrants with basic health information, cholesterol checks and other preventive tests. It also makes referrals to U.S. hospitals, health centers and government programs where patients can get care without fear of being turned over to immigration authorities," according to the Los Angeles Times.

Illegal immigrants are not eligible for federal entitlement programs such as Medicare, but they are eligible for the Women, Infants and Children program and, like everyone else, must be treated at hospital emergency rooms. The federal government later reimburses hospitals for care provided and not paid for.

I'm having a hard time deciding if I think this program is a good idea or a terrible one. Providing some basic information and diagnostic tests at the consulates seems reasonable enough. And I'm generally in favor of the U.S. government providing basic human services to those that work for us and live among us. But when the Mexican government starts spending money to make sure its citizens in the United States are cashing in on our government's generosity (to the tune of $1.1 billion in Los Angeles alone last year), I find my feathers getting a little ruffled.

The Ventanillas program probably doesn't cost much, from the sounds of it, but why doesn't that money go into providing education, job opportunities, and health care in Mexico? It seems perverse that the Mexican government is eager to be "relevant in the lives of its citizens in the United States," as Steven A. Camarota, research director for the Center for Immigration Studies, puts it, when it has failed to meet their most basic needs at home. I mean, is the Mexican government trying to outsource government, thereby admitting that Mexico is a failed state?

Weigh in in the comments section.

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