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Illegal immigrants causing costs to rise

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Posted: Tuesday, July 18, 2006 10:00 pm

Health care costs are increasing drastically as a result of the massive influx of illegal immigrants.

In a March 17, 2005, Fox News report, Mike Antonovich, the L.A. County Supervisor said, "Caring for illegals is siphoning money for other services and forcing clinics, trauma centers and emergency rooms to close."

According to Madeleine Pelner Cosman, a lawyer who specializes in medical law, "Between 1993 and 2003, 60 California hospitals closed because of over 50 percent of unpaid services and another 24 verge on closure."

Estimates indicate that illegal immigrants represent between 12.5 percent and 25 percent of all people in the United States without health insurance. In 2001, when we had millions of fewer illegal immigrants than we do now, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies put the total uncompensated care for the uninsured at $35 billion, meaning that illegal immigrants ran up a bill of between $4.38 billion and $8.75 billion in unpaid care. Add to this number the billions that state programs pay for illegal health care. The Federation for Immigration Reform (FAIR) estimates that California now spends $1.4 billion on illegal alien's health care annually.

Add to this the cost of illegals in our prisons. By 1998, Hispanics already represented 42 percent of the new entries in California prisons. Costs are exploding. At the beginning of this decade, it was estimated that incarcerating illegal immigrants in state prisons across the country cost $1.6 billion. Now, FAIR estimates California alone spends over $1.4 billion a year on incarcerating them. This is beyond a regional problem. It is, in fact, a national problem. According to FBI Assistant Director, Michal Mason, head of the Washington field office as other states see Hispanic crime burgeoning as in California.

Aileen Boyce

Lodi

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