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Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - 11:59am

Taxpayers foot the bill for undocumented immigrants emergency visits

Monday, June 30, 2014 - 8:37pm

With the flood of immigrants comes a flood of health problems. Many are being treated at the border after crossing in the U.S. and you, the taxpayer may be footing the bill. This past week local hospitals confirmed dozens of undocumented immigrants have been treated for diseases such as scabies and lice.
A growing number of undocumented immigrants from Southeast Texas are making their way to El Paso and with them -- come some health problems. Dozens are being treated at hospitals like University Medical Center for lice and scabies. "I think it's a completely legitimate concern to wonder what it's going to cost us locally to take care of the migrants who are here,” Congressman Beto O' Rourke, [D] District 16 of El Paso told us Monday.

UMC and Sierra Providence East reps say they don't know how many migrants they've treated but Las Palmas confirms they've seen up to ten patients a day and Del Sol has treated 24 patients just since last week. That number will likely grow. Immigration attorneys say as many as 20,000 more immigrants are expected at the border in the coming months. Those hospitals are compensated from the Federal Government.

Local hospitals are billing federal agencies -- like U.S. Border Patrol and Immigration And Customs Enforcement. And ultimately that means its taxpayers who will end up picking up the tab.

Lawmakers like O'Rourke have been working to find a solution but admit it's not looking good. "It's pretty clear we're not going to be making any more progress this year,” O’Rourke explained, "Just really beginning to do the important work of finding out how this could have happened in the first place. "


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