The Memorial Hermann Medical Group Northeast Women’s Healthcare clinic near Houston is now enforcing immigration law and seeking to have patients deported.
They reported an immigrant woman seeking medical care to the sheriff's office earlier this month because she allegedly presented a fake Texas driver's license as identifcation. Blanca Borrego was seeing her doctor for a cyst that was causing abdominal pain, and paying for the medical care with private insurance provided through her husband's job. The deputies arrested her in front of her 8-year old U.S. citizen daughter. She has been charged with tampering with a government record, a felony.
Denise Gilman, director of the immigration clinic at the University of Texas School of Law in Austin, said that although Borrego’s arrest probably did not violate medical privacy laws, “it certainly is a violation of the doctor-patient relationship, of the trust.”
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“Medical settings should be free from immigration enforcement,” said Ana Rodriguez DeFrates, state policy and advocacy director in Texas for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, who was among those organizing protests.
She said Borrego’s arrest “will no doubt reverberate in Latina communities across Texas,” noting that many Texas Latinas die from cervical and breast cancer due to lack of preventive care “in large part because they can’t access medical providers, and when they do, they fear precisely what happened to this woman.”
Rodriguez DeFrates said law enforcement officials should ask themselves, “With the limited resources for immigration enforcement we have, is this really where the threat exists: where women come in to get their healthcare needs met, with their children?”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott thinks that this incident is one to be proud of:
Los Angeles Times by Molly Hennessy-Fiske
This is shameful. Immigrants should be free to seek healthcare without fear of facing deportation. What does Texas First Lady Cecila Abbott, granddaughter of immigrants from Mexico, think of this?