HHS: Obamacare-Funded Health Centers for 'Migrants' Won't Check Immigration Status

August 10, 2011 - 5:00 AM
APTOPIX Obama

President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Aug. 8, 2011. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(CNSNews.com) - The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on Tuesday that it has awarded $28.8 million to 67 community health centers with funds from the Obamacare health reform law. 

Of that $28.8 million, "approximately $8.5 million will be used by 25 New Access Point awardees to target services to migrant and seasonal farm workers," Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Spokeswoman Judy Andrews told CNSNews.com. HRSA is a part of HHS.

Andrews said that grant recipients will not check the immigration status of people seeking services.

“Health centers do not, as a matter of routine practice, ask about or collect data on citizenship or other matters not related to the treatment needs of the patients seeking health services at the center,” Andrews said.

Further, the grant recipients are required to serve "all residents" who walk through their doors.

“The Program’s authorizing statute does not affirmatively address immigration status,” said Andrews. “Rather, it simply states that health centers are required to provide primary health care to all residents of the health center's service area without regard for ability to pay.”

These Obamacare disbursements seem to contradict a claim President Obama famously made in a nationally televised speech to a joint session of Congress on Sept. 9, 2009.

“The reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally,” Obama said then.

When Obama said these words, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) shouted out from the House floor: "You lie!" After the speech, Wilson called the White House and apologized for his remark and issued a statement saying he was sorry for it and President Obama accepted his apology. However, five days later, led by then-Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D.-Md.), the House voted 240-179 to rebuke Wilson for his outburst on the House floor.

The grants announced by HHS yesterday aim to support community health centers that provide health care free-of-charge or at a reduced price to people making up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

Because the health care centers receiving $8.5 million in Obamacare money "to target services to migrant and seasonal farm workers" will not check the immigration status of the migrant workers who seek their services it is inevitable that they will serve illegal aliens.

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, illegal immigrants make up an estimated 25 percent of all migrant farm workers, with disproportionate amounts residing in California, Texas, Florida, and Georgia.

“As a result of the concentration of unauthorized immigrants working in certain occupations, there are some occupations where they also represent a high proportion of workers. For example, 25% of farm workers are undocumented immigrants,” Pew said in a 2009 report.

The $28.8 million in ObamaCare grants announced yesterday are part of the New Access Point grant program for community health centers. Migrant Health Centers are a special type of community health center that specifically targets migrant farm workers.

“These awards demonstrate a commitment to improving and expanding access to quality health care for local communities. We are removing barriers that stand in the way of affordable and accessible primary health services,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement on Tuesday announcing the grants.

“The Migrant Health Center program provides support to health centers to deliver comprehensive, high quality, culturally-competent preventive and primary health services to migrant and seasonal farm workers and their families,” the HRSA says on its Web site.