Judicial Watch, May 31, 2007
Mexico’s government operates programs in about a dozen American cities that refers its nationals—living in the U.S. illegally—to publicly funded health centers where they can get free medical care without being turned over to immigration authorities.
The program is called Ventanillas de Salud (Health Windows) in Spanish and its mission is to help illegal immigrants find U.S. hospitals, clinics and other government programs where they can get free services without being deported for violating federal immigration laws.
Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, San Diego and Indianapolis are among the cities where Mexican consulates operate the health referral system which annually costs U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars. In Los Angeles County alone, illegal immigrants cost taxpayers nearly $440 million in health services annually and a whopping $1.1 billion statewide.
The Mexican consul in Los Angeles proudly announced that nearly 300,000 Mexicans in the area have benefited from his government’s health referral program, which he says actually saves the county money by encouraging immigrants to seek preventive care rather than waiting for more expensive emergency treatment.
The Southern California operation promises to assess “consulate clients” for eligibility to government-funded health insurance and other primary care services and offers free legal assistance to those who are denied coverage. Its goal is to improve access to health services for immigrants of Mexican origin by formalizing a health education, medical home referral and insurance enrollment program.
In Chicago, the Mexican consul’s Spanish-language web site heavily promotes the Illinois Department of Health’s low-cost prescription medicine program for illegal aliens and various free medical services throughout the state. It encourages all Mexicans in the area to pursue the valuable U.S. government-financed services for their entire family.
The Indiana-based program boasts that it serves thousands of “Mexican nationals” living in that state as well as Ohio, Kentucky and southern Illinois. Mexican officials claim that its highly successful pro-health program sends out a clear message to other Mexican consulates throughout the country and the world.
Although these programs facilitate people to remain in the country illegally, Mexico is working hard to expand them to all 47 U.S. consulates to better serve its nationals. In the meantime, U.S. taxpayers will keep picking up the exorbitant tab of medically treating the millions who live in the country illegally.