Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., says Democratic healthcare plans may end up providing aid to illegal immigrants.
In a conference call with reporters Tuesday, he defended Republicans who say Democratic healthcare reform proposals would finance care for those living here illegally, Roll Call news service reports.
“It’s a logical question for people to ask,” Kyl said during the call.
The issue has come up at recent town hall meetings on healthcare. Kyl says that Democrats have long fought restriction on government services for illegal aliens.
For example, he points out that Democrats shot down Republican attempts to limit healthcare for illegal immigrants during Congressional debates last year. That includes the conflict over the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, Kyl said.
“In the last couple of bills . . . there were efforts to ensure that only eligible people would get the benefits . . . Those efforts were defeated by Democrats.”
Hospitals now must provide anyone, including illegal immigrants, with healthcare if necessary.
“That illegal immigrants get care . . . it’s a big burden on hospitals,” Kyl said, according to Roll Call.
To be sure, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, told the news service that no bill currently under discussion would grant healthcare to illegal immigrants.
And, of course, pro-immigration groups feel differently than Kyl.
“The Republican Party’s embrace of the nativist base is probably the most self-destructive” decision party leaders could make, Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, told Roll Call.
Republicans risk turning Latino voters from a swing group to “a reliable bloc” for Democrats, he says.
President Obama last week reiterated his commitment for immigration reform. “Am I going to be able to snap my fingers and get this done?” he said, as cited by The New York Times.
“No, but ultimately, I think the American people want fairness. And we can create a system in which you have strong border security and an orderly process for people to come in.
“But we’re also giving an opportunity for those who are already in the United States to be able to achieve a pathway to citizenship so they don’t have to live in the shadows.”
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