Castro: ‘We Already Pay for the Health Care’ of Illegal Aliens - ‘It’s Called the Emergency Room’

Melanie Arter | July 1, 2019 | 12:02pm EDT
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((Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

( – Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro told ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopolous” on Sunday that Americans already pay for the health care of illegal immigrants – “it’s called the emergency room.”

“Let’s talk of the debate Wednesday night. You did have a breakthrough performance. You talked a lot about wanting to decriminalize immigrants coming into the United States right now, make it a civil penalty. Again, you’ve drawn a lot of heat for that, also for the plans that all the Democrats said they wanted to give access to health care for undocumented immigrants,” Stephanopolous said.


“President Trump had a tweet while he was overseas, want to show that. ‘All Democrats just raised their hands for giving millions of illegal aliens unlimited health care. How about that taking care of American citizens first? That's the end of that race.’ Followed by The New York Post the next morning, want to show that as well. ‘Who wants to lose this election as all the Democrats raise their hands.’ Did you give an opening to the Republicans?” he asked.

“Not at all,” Castro responded. “What I would like every American taxpayer to know is that right now, number one, undocumented immigrants already pay a lot of taxes. Secondly, we already pay for the health care of undocumented immigrants. It's called the emergency room. People show up in the emergency room and they get care, as they should.



“And then third, it is the right thing to do. We're not going to let people living in this country die because they can't see a doctor. That's not who we are as Americans,” he said.

“The question is at what cost, though? And when you add up all the proposals you're calling for right now, decriminalization of crossing the border, no deportation absent other crimes, the offer of health benefits, also a possible path to citizenship. I know you reject the rhetoric about open borders, but isn't that effectively open borders, not limiting how -- immigration in any real way?” Stephanopolous asked.

“I would challenge you there, George, on a couple things. Number one, there’s no way that we can call that open borders, because we have 654 miles of fencing. We have thousands of personnel at the border. We have planes, helicopters, boats, security cameras, guns. That's by no stretch of the imagination open borders,” Castro said.

"And then, you know, secondly, there is still a civil court process, there are still people who are being deported, there are people applying for asylum that do not receive, are not granted asylum. So right -- open borders is just a right-wing talking point. It always has been. And I’ll say, it doesn't matter what Democrats do on this issue,” he said.

“President Trump and Republicans are always going to say that Democrats are for open borders. I have a completely different vision, a better, stronger vision of how we can be more effective, more humane and smarter on border security and immigration. And you know, this president has wasted two and a half years. He knew that we had a flow of people that were coming from Central America when he became president on January 20, 2017,” Castro said.

“He’s wasted two and a half years, because he should have done what I’ve called for, which is a 21st century Marshall Plan with those Northern Triangle countries so that people can find safety and opportunity at home instead of having to come to the United States,” he added.

The Marshall Plan, known as the European Recovery Program, was a U.S. program providing aid to Western Europe following the devastation of World War II. Enacted in 1948, the Marshall Plan was the brainchild of Secretary of State George C. Marshall and provided $15 billion to help finance rebuilding efforts in Europe.



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