Eva Longoria: Immigration Debate ‘Not Relevant’ to Health Care Reform

By Nick Ballasy | October 15, 2009 | 9:15 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - Actress Eva Longoria Parker told CNSNews.com that it is past time for Congress to “take on” the issue of illegal immigration and that the topic should not be used to scuttle health care reform. 
“I think there needs to be a sophisticated dialogue about what needs to happen with immigration but the main thing is it needs to be happen,” she told CNSNews.com. “And also, there needs to be education about the current system and how it’s not working and this has been on the national agenda for 10 years, so it’s time to take it on.”
Longoria Parker spoke with CNSNews.com following an event on Capitol Hill to announce the leadership of the National Museum of the American Latino Commission and to discuss its efforts to build a museum in the District of Columbia.

When asked, “Do you think illegal immigrants should be covered under the public health care plan if it goes through, the federal health care plan?” Longoria Parker said: “I think it’s a difficult question to answer because we don’t have comprehensive immigration reform so we don’t even – we haven’t even identified who these people are. They’re living in the shadows. They are contributing to our society; how they contribute – how much they contribute, we don’t know yet.”
“So it’s a difficult question to answer but I don’t like the idea of people who don’t want health care reform using the immigrants and the immigration debate as the scapegoat to not pass this reform for health care because I think it’s not relevant to the health care debate right now,” she said. “I think to use the immigrant stories and use that as an angle to not have health care reform is not right.”
President Barack Obama has said illegal immigrants will not be covered under health care reform. However, he has also said that the health care debate “underscores” the need for comprehensive immigration reform.
“Even though I do not believe we can extend coverage to those who are here illegally, I also don't simply believe we can ignore the fact that our immigration system is broken," the president said at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) Gala last month.
"That's why I strongly support making sure folks who are here legally have access to affordable, quality health insurance under this plan, just like everybody else,” he said.
“And we certainly should not let this debate on health care--one that’s so essential to Hispanic Americans and all Americans--get sidetracked by those looking to exploit division and kill reform at any cost. That’s what they always try to do,” said Obama.
"If anything, this debate underscores the necessity of passing comprehensive immigration reform and resolving the issue of 12 million undocumented people living and working in this country once and for all," the president said.
Eva Longoria Parker, a Mexican-American actress, is best known for her role as “Gabrielle Solis” on the ABC sitcom Desperate Housewives. She is married to NBA Guard Tony Parker.