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MEXICO: Public health

Linda Nyquist says: "My comments have been somewhat misunderstood. Immigration law in the United States holds that persons will not be returned to their countries if they are going to suffer undo hardships (I'm not sure of the exact wording, but this mandate provides for persons to stay here). This includes, of course, political torture, but also health care. Immigration judges here in Seattle have frequently granted individuals the right to stay when returning to their own countries would result in serious illness or death.

I absolutely concur that we cannot be responsible for the health and well-being of the whole world. My objection is to us having this law, and then circumventing it with dishonesty. Should not the law be changed? I object to us having a law which would have allowed by person whose case I stated to have stayed in the US, where this person was undergoing dialysis, because of lack of services in Mexico, the country origin. We accepted the answer that these services would be available without charge when, in fact, they were not and anyone with knowledge of the system of healthcare in Mexico should know this. Americans would, I believe, find it distasteful to openly say "We don't care if you need dialysis and will die without it; you're going back to your country." This is, however, what we did in this case and the law should reflect that position. Of course, I would like to extend healthcare to anyone who needs it. I, too, am extremely concerned that Americans are going without the services they need, and I do believe that citizens and legal residents of the country should have all the services they need available and affordable first.

I'd just like to see immigration law that is straightforward and truthful. It is too easy to apply unfairly the law as it stands today. In another case here in Seattle, a person was granted a stay in the United States due to depression and lack of mental health services in the village in Mexico. This person's condition did not appear to be life-threatening. To me, the dialysis patient was far more in need on an immediate and ongoing basis.

I hope that this clarifies my earlier statements".

RH: Immigration laws in the US and other countries grant asylum to people in danger of persecution in their homelands, not to economic refugees, which would result in the US and Western Europe being swamped with refugees. Asylum seekers try to prove that they face persecution if they return to their homeland. If that claim is proved to be bogus, asylum is denied.

Ronald Hilton - 8/9/03